Ex-Titan Charles headed to Broncos

Published 5:19 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Well, at least Jamaal Charles is staying in the AFC West.

The nine-year Kansas City Chiefs veteran running back from Port Arthur turned in the red and gold earlier this year and will now don the blue and orange of a division rival for the 2017 season. The Denver Broncos on Tuesday announced Charles, 30, signed a one-year free-agent deal with the Broncos.

“I had Denver on one of my top lists,” Charles said on Broncos’ video, adding he has “a lot” left in the proverbial tank.

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The Broncos did not announce financial terms of the agreement, but ESPN reported that Charles’ contract is worth up to $3.75 million. The Chiefs released Charles on Feb. 28, likely saving $6.1 million in salary cap space, according to Spotrac.com.

His most recent contract with Kansas City had one season left and was worth up to $18.1 million for two years, according to the website.

Denver becomes the second NFL team for Charles, but he was building a likely hall-of-fame career in Kansas City when he suffered an ACL tear during Week 5 of the 2015 season. Charles did not return to regular-season action until Oct. 2, 2016. He saw limited action in three games before undergoing an operation for a meniscus tear, and the Chiefs held him out for the rest of the season.

Charles also tore an ACL in the 2011 season, missing 14 games. ESPN said the Broncos gave him an extensive exam at their facility in Englewood, Colo.

“People are worried about my injuries, but I haven’t got to show people what I can really do, coming back from the last surgery. So, I want to still prove people wrong,” Charles said.

He ranks atop active players in yards per rushing attempt with 5.5, first all-time among running backs and third all-time across all positions in that category. Quarterback Michael Vick was the active leader until he retired in February.

Charles averaged 5.9 to lead the NFL in 2009. On Jan. 3, 2010, in the final week of that regular season, Charles ran for 255 yards against the Broncos in a 44-24 victory. The single-game performance ranks eighth-best in NFL history, but no one has surpassed that mark since.

Charles tied for the longest rush of the following season at 80 yards.

Broncos GM and former quarterback John Elway on Tuesday tweeted his delight of not having to face Charles anymore.

“Excited to have Jamaal Charles join the Broncos. A great addition to our backfield, and we’re thrilled we won’t have to play against him!” Elway tweeted.

Charles said it won’t be weird wearing Denver colors, adding Elway inspired him as a kid.

The Broncos have stocked up at running back in the wake of C.J. Anderson’s knee injury. ESPN noted his expected return as well as that of 2016 rookie Devontae Booker and the addition of former Baltimore Raven Bernard Pierce and the draft selection of former Coastal Carolina star De’Angelo Henderson.

“I just want to bring more experience to the backfield, help the team and spark the team and bring some explosiveness,” Charles said.

Henderson torched Lamar for 158 yards and two touchdowns in a season-opening victory in Beaumont last September.

Charles graduated from Memorial in 2005 and remains Port Arthur ISD’s all-time leading rusher.

A four-time Pro Bowler from the University of Texas, Charles led the NFL in rushing touchdowns (12) and rushing and receiving touchdowns (19) in 2013. His 7,260 career rushing yards ranks eighth among active players, and his 10,963 all-purpose yards is 20th most among actives.

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

**This version CORRECTS Charles’ rushing and all-purpose yardage for his career**

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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