PORT ARTHUR — Though he was healthy by the summer and played in all 16 games for the Chiefs, Charles said the knee was in the back of his mind when he was on the field.
“I’m definitely more comfortable and confident this year,” Charles said. “Coming off my knee injury, I didn’t feel like I couldn’t do all the things I should have last year, Now, I feel like I can do a lot of stuff, going back to my NFL sophomore and junior years. I feel like I can do a lot. I feel like I can line up at receiver now.
“I can go out there and cut (this year). Last year, I was scared to cut. I couldn’t really move. I was scared to make a move on the field. I was limping and I wasn’t really all the way healthy. Now, I feel comfortable and confident I can go out there and move around.”
The turnover in the organization didn’t just touch the coaching staff and front office. Kansas City’s roster added players at two key spots. With the top pick in April’s draft, the Chiefs selected left tackle Eric Fisher out of Central Michigan to bolster the offensive line.
In March, the Chiefs and the 49ers also completed a trade for quarterback Alex Smith. Kansas City sent its second-round pick in this year’s draft along with a conditional pick in 2014 for the 29-year old signal caller.
Smith was 6-2-1 as a starter in 2012, completing 70 percent of his passes for 1,737 yards, 13 TDs and five interceptions. An injury sidelined Smith in the middle of the season, allowing backup Colin Kaepernick to take over the team and lead the Niners to a Super Bowl appearance.
Kaepernick’s emergence made Smith expendable, but Charles said he should be a key addition to the Chiefs in 2013.