PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Sports

December 21, 2013

PA folks knew Jamaal Charles bound for greatness

KANSAS CITY — KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Nobody in the Gulf Coast community of Port Arthur ever expected Joe Washington's records to be broken. His schoolboy rushing totals stood for three decades, through all the oil booms and busts that influence life on the eastern edge of Texas.

Then along came Jamaal Charles, who possessed such blinding speed, peerless vision and almost effortless ability that even Washington knew his marks would topple.

"He wasn't too keen on focusing on records and yards," Washington recalled this week, "and that's when I knew it. I knew he would do it."

Charles eventually did break the prep mark in Port Arthur, then went on to a standout career at Texas — much to the chagrin of Washington, who played at Oklahoma. And just like Washington, the soft-spoken Charles made it to the NFL, where he hasn't stopped setting records.

He had four touchdown catches in last week's win over Oakland, the most by a running back, and part of a five-TD performance that put Charles in rare company. Three other players have scored more touchdowns in a game — Gale Sayers, Dub Jones and Ernie Nevers — and four other running backs have ever had more than the 195 yards receiving Charles piled up before he was taken out with three minutes left in the third quarter.

It was a virtuoso performance that didn't surprise Washington all that much. After all, he knew from the moment Charles broke his high school records that Charles was destined to do great things.

"I'd been out of football for 20 years when he was in high school," Washington said, "but I always heard about him. And I've become a great admirer of his skills."

Given his bloodlines, all of this shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

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