After two injury-plagued seasons with the team, former Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles was released after the 2016 season. He spent the next season with the Denver Broncos. Last October, Charles was signed to the Jacksonville Jaguars, but was released from the team just two weeks later.
Since leaving Kansas City, Charles, 32, has had only 75 carries for 303 yards and a touchdown — plus 25 receptions for 136 yards. It hasn’t exactly been the kind of production he gave the Chiefs over the nine years of his Kansas City career, in which he amassed 9,717 yards from scrimmage and 63 touchdowns.
But Charles isn’t ready to give up on the NFL just yet.
“It’s in the air right now,” Charles told TMZ in an interview published early Sunday morning. “I’m going to sit down with my family and try to go through the process of what’s the best thing for me and us, and I’ll move on from there [with] what my wife and my advisors say.”
Asked if he thought he had already played in his last NFL game, Charles admitted it was possible.
“It’s a possibility,” he said, “but I’m happy either way it goes. I’m happy in life. I’m happy right now. I’m just enjoying the ride while I can.”
There is a possibility that Charles’ ride could still lead to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Charles acknowledged that while he has never been on a team that won a championship — which is sometimes seen as a black mark against players being considered for induction — he still thinks there is a case to be made.
”I mean, some of my numbers look way better than some people already in Canton,” Charles told TMZ.
And he is right. Over his career, Charles has averaged 5.4 yards per rushing attempt. Among running backs, that’s second only to Hall of Famer Marion Motley, and more than Hall of Fame running backs Jim Brown, Joe Perry, Gale Sayers and Barry Sanders — not to mention more recent inductee Terrell Davis.
”That tells you what type of player I was,” Charles said — already seeming to speak of his career in the past tense. “I gave it my all. Every time I touched the ball, I averaged six yards a carry basically.”
That’s also true. As a Chiefs running back who was also dangerous as a pass receiver, Charles did average 6.0 yards per offensive touch. Over his career, he’s amassed over 10,000 yards from scrimmage — and among running backs who have reached that plateau, Charles trails only Hall of Famers Bobby Mitchell, Charley Taylor and Lenny Moore with 5.9 yards per touch on offense. That’s also more than Brown, Perry or Sanders, as well as Hall of Fame players like Marshall Faulk, Thurman Thomas, Walter Payton and Marcus Allen.
But Charles said that records are made to be broken, and that his legacy will be simple.
“I hope that people can just see what what type of person I was from just playing football — on the field and off the field.”