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Jamaal Charles
refer to caption
Charles with the Denver Broncos in 2017.
Free agent
Position: Running back
Personal information
Born: (1986-12-27) December 27, 1986 (age 31)
Port Arthur, Texas
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight: 199 lb (90 kg)
Career information
High school: Memorial (Port Arthur, TX)
College: Texas
NFL Draft: 2008 / Round: 3 / Pick: 73
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2017
Rushing yards: 7,556
Yards per carry: 5.4
Rushing touchdowns: 44
Receptions: 308
Receiving yards: 2,586
Receiving touchdowns: 20
Player stats at

Jamaal RaShaad Jones Charles (born December 27, 1986) is an American football running back who is a free agent. He played college football for the University of Texas, and was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

Charles's first year as a Chief was hardly in the spotlight; as a backup to halfback Larry Johnson, Charles rushed only 67 times for 357 yards. His breakout season came the following year in 2009. In his second year, Charles rushed 190 times for 1,120 yards, despite only starting 10 games after Larry Johnson was suspended. Shortly thereafter, Johnson was released, leaving Charles as Kansas City's starting halfback.

As of the 2017 season, Charles is the NFL's all-time leader in career yards-per-carry among running backs, with a 5.5 average.[1]

Early years[edit]

Charles has reported being diagnosed with a learning disability as a child, having difficulty reading, and being mocked and teased. In 2015, he shared his experience including being invited to participate in the Special Olympics: "[...] I was afraid. I was lost. When I was a boy, I had trouble reading. I found out I had a learning disability. People made fun of me. They said I would never go anywhere. But I learned I can fly. When I was 10 years old, I had a chance to compete in the Special Olympics. That's right, the Special Olympics gave me my first chance to discover the talent I did not know that I had. When I competed in the Special Olympics, I found out just how fast I was. I stood high on the podium, getting the gold medal in track and field."[2][3]

Charles attended and played high school football for Memorial High School of Port Arthur, Texas.[4] As a junior, he ran for 2,051 yards and 25 touchdowns while leading Memorial to the 5A Division II quarterfinals.[5] He was named first team all-state by the Texas Sports Writers Association and second team all-state by the Associated Press.[6]

Charles followed up his stellar junior season by rushing for 2,056 yards and 25 touchdowns during his senior year with the Titans.[7] The Associated Press named him to their first team all-state squad and he was declared the Houston Chronicle area offensive MVP. Charles was also named to the 2005 Parade All-America Football Team[8] and was the District 22-5A Player of the Year both his junior and senior year. Charles participated in the 2005 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.[9]

Charles is a two-time recipient of the Willie Ray Smith Award, which is given to the southeast Texas offensive MVP.[10]

College career[edit]


Charles was also a standout track athlete at Port Arthur (TX) Memorial. In the summer between his sophomore and junior years, Charles won the bronze medal in the 400m hurdles at the 2003 World Youth Championships in Athletics.[11] He went on to win the 110m hurdles and 300m hurdles Texas 5A state championships with times of 13.69 and 36.03 seconds, respectively, his senior year.

On March 11, 2006, Charles placed fourth in the NCAA 60-meter indoor track and field championship finals. On May 14, 2006, Charles captured his first conference title and the third Big 12 100-meter title for Texas by winning the event in 10.23 at the Big 12 outdoor meet. He led the 200 meter race after the preliminary round but elected not to participate in the final, as Texas had the Big 12 team title well in hand. On June 10, at the NCAA outdoor competition, Charles took fifth place in the 100 meter finals, edging out UTEP's stand-out sprinter Churandy Martina (sixth place), who earlier in the year ran a 9.76 (wind-aided) 100-meters. Charles also placed seventh in the 200 meter finals, and ran the third leg of the 4 × 100 Texas Longhorn relay team, earning a fifth place in the finals. Charles's efforts helped the Longhorns earn a third place showing for the men's track and field team, the highest since a second-place finish at the 1997 NCAA finals. Thus, Charles completed his first collegiate track season as a four-time All-American (60m indoor, 100m outdoor, 200m outdoor, 4 × 100 m relay outdoor).

Personal bests[edit]

Event Time (seconds) Venue Date
60 meters 6.65[12] Fayetteville, Arkansas March 10, 2006
100 meters 10.13[13] Austin, Texas May 27, 2006
200 meters 20.62 Austin, Texas April 22, 2006


Tailback Jamaal Charles of the 2006 Texas Longhorns football team rushes for a first down vs the Rice University Owls September 16, 2006.

Charles attended and played college football for the University of Texas from 2005–2007 under head coach Mack Brown.[14][15]

2005 season[edit]

In his true freshman season with the Longhorns, Charles was an instant contributor. In his collegiate debut against Louisiana-Lafayette, he had 135 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in the 60–3 victory.[16] Two weeks later, against Rice, he had 189 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns in the 51–10 victory.[17] On October 8, in the Red River Showdown against Oklahoma, he had 116 rushing yards and a touchdown in the 45–12 victory.[18] Overall, he rushed 119 times for 878 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 7.4 yards per carry, and assisting his team in winning a national championship in the Rose Bowl over Southern California.[19][20][21]

2006 season[edit]

After a disappointing performance in his sophomore campaign, where Charles did not reach the 1,000 yards rushing mark, Charles opted not to participate in track so he could focus on getting bigger for football. He went over 100 rushing yards only once, which was against Rice in a 52–7 victory.[22] He had a 72-yard reception in the 2006 Alamo Bowl 26–24 victory over Iowa.[23] Overall, he finished with 831 rushing yards, seven rushing touchdowns, 18 receptions, 183 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown.[24]

2007 season[edit]

In the summer prior to the 2007 season, some observers believed he was the fastest college running back in the upcoming season. CBS SportsLine said, "Track star Jamaal Charles has the potential at running back to enjoy a break-out season and possesses the kind of breakaway speed that lead to an 80-yard rush and a 70-yard catch last season." [25] Athlon Sports remarked, "Over the last two years, running back Jamaal Charles has run for 1,702 yards at 6.2 yards per carry with 18 touchdowns despite starting only four games. He has the job to himself and should have a breakout year." [26]

In 2007, Charles rushed for 1,619 yards, with an average of more than six yards per carry.[27] Charles started the season with 112 rushing yards and a touchdown in a 21–13 victory over Arkansas State.[28] In the next game, a 34–13 victory over TCU, he had 134 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.[29] In the next game, a 35–32 victory away victory at Central Florida, he had 153 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.[30] In the next game, he had 72 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns in a 58–14 victory over Rice.[31] Despite his successes early in the season, Mack Brown and Greg Davis hinted that Charles could face less playing time as a result of his fumbling problems.[32] Charles said that he felt a deep remorse over his fumbles and felt that he is the biggest reason the team lost to the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2007 Red River Shootout. Texas running backs coach Ken Rucker and former Longhorn running back Earl Campbell both worked with Charles on his ball handling. Greg Davis said he wanted to get the ball to Charles "in space", on pitches and passes, instead of in heavy traffic up the center.[33]

On October 28, 2007, Charles rushed for 290 yards in the 28–25 victory, the most ever against the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the fourth-highest total in Texas Longhorns history.[34] His 216 yards in the fourth quarter were just six shy of the NCAA record for a single quarter set by the University of Washington Huskies's Corey Dillon in 1996. For these accomplishments, Charles won a fan vote for AT&T All-America Player of the Week.[35] He followed that up with 180 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns in a 38–35 victory over Oklahoma State.[36] On November 10, against Texas Tech, he had 174 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in the 59–43 victory.[37] In the 2007 Holiday Bowl against Arizona State, he had 161 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the 52–34 victory.[38]

Charles decided to forgo his senior season with Texas in favor of joining the NFL as a professional football player in the 2008 NFL Draft.[39] This decision came after earlier statements that he would stay with Texas. In November, Charles said he would return for his senior season rather than enter professional football in the NFL.[40] Sources reported in December 2007 that Charles and fellow Longhorn Jermichael Finley had filed paperwork with the NFL to evaluate how high they might be drafted if they decided enter professional football in the NFL Draft instead of returning for their senior season. Mack Brown did not comment about specific players but said, "We always try to help our guys get as much information as possible when it comes to the NFL. We encourage and help them go through the process... All of our underclassmen have told us they will be coming back, but if you're playing well enough to be considered an NFL prospect, going through the process can only help you better understand it and realize what you need to work on to improve your status."[41] Charles said he would not go pro unless he was predicted to be chosen in the first round of the draft.[42][43] After the 2007 Holiday Bowl Charles said, "Right now, I’m probably coming back. I didn’t think I did that good in the game. Next year maybe I’ll be up for the Heisman. I will come back."[44] From 2000–2007 the Longhorns have had seven players taken in the Top 10 draft picks by the NFL, more than any other school.[43] On January 2 Charles announced he received and was happy with the results of his draft evaluation and that he would declare for the draft.[39]

Despite skipping his senior year, Charles ranks fourth in the list of total-rushing yards by a Texas player, behind Ricky Williams, Cedric Benson, and Earl Campbell, with 3,328 yards.[45] Williams and Campbell each won the Heisman Trophy in their senior season.

College statistics[edit]

Rushing Receiving
Year Team GP Att Yards Avg TDs Rec Yards TDs
2005 Texas 13 119 878 7.4 11 14 157 2
2006 Texas 12 156 831 5.3 7 18 183 1
2007 Texas 13 258 1,619 6.3 18 17 199 0
College Totals 38 533 3,328 6.2 36 49 539 3


Professional career[edit]

Kansas City Chiefs[edit]

2008 season[edit]

The Kansas City Chiefs selected Charles in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft with the 73rd overall pick. He was the ninth running back to be selected that year.[47] Charles thought he would go early in the second round but said he had no regrets about leaving college early.[48] Charles was expected to begin his career as the Chiefs' No. 3 back behind Larry Johnson and Kolby Smith.[49]

Charles with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2010

In his first professional football game, Charles rushed for 28 yards on five carries against the New England Patriots. He also recorded two catches for six yards.[50] The Chiefs would go on to lose the game 17–10.[51]

In Charles's first professional season, he ended with 357 yards rushing and 272 yards receiving, but what was most impressive in his rookie season was his 5.3 yard per carry average. In Week 9 of the 2008 season with Larry Johnson out, Charles was given the bulk of the carries and managed 106 yards on 18 carries against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.[52] In Week 16 of the 2008 season, Charles managed to go over 100 yards receiving with 3 catches for 102 yards against the Miami Dolphins.[53][54]

2009 season[edit]

During Week 9 of the 2009 NFL season, Larry Johnson was released and Charles was promoted to first-string but split carries with Kolby Smith.[55] In his limited action against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Charles managed 36 yards on only six carries for a 6-yard per carry average.[56] During Week 10 of the 2009 NFL season, Charles ran for 103 yards on 18 carries including a 44-yard touchdown run, the Chiefs first rushing touchdown of the year.[57] In Week 11 of the 2009 NFL season, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Charles returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. He went on to rush for 58 yards and also had had a 2-yard reception for a touchdown. The Chiefs won the game 27–24 in overtime.[58] Charles was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.[59] In Week 14 of the 2009 NFL Season, against the Buffalo Bills, Charles ran for a 76-yard touchdown, one of the longest runs in Chiefs history.[60] In Week 17 of the 2009 NFL Season, on the road against the Denver Broncos, Charles rushed for 259 yards on 25 carries, scoring two touchdowns and breaking the Chiefs' single-game rushing record. The Chiefs won 44–24.[61] Charles also became the only player in NFL history to rush for 1,100 or more yards in 200 or fewer carries.[62][63]

2010 season[edit]

The Chiefs opened up the 2010 season with a win over their division rival, the San Diego Chargers. In that game, Charles played a pivotal role, including a 56-yard run.[64] On October 31, against the Buffalo Bills, he had 177 rushing yards in the 13–10 victory.[65] On November 28, against the Seattle Seahawks, he had 173 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in the 42–24 victory.[66] In the following game, he had 116 rushing yards in the 10–6 victory over the Denver Broncos.[67] in Week 15, against the St. Louis Rams, he had 126 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.[68] Charles finished the season with 1,467 yards and 5 touchdowns on only 230 carries and was voted to his first career Pro Bowl.[69][70] His 6.38 yards per carry average for the season was the second-highest average in NFL history,[dubious ] second only to Hall of Famer Jim Brown, only two one-hundredths of a yard off of the record pace set by the Browns legend.[citation needed] On December 11, 2010, the Chiefs reached an agreement with Charles on a five-year, $32.5 million deal that includes $13 million guaranteed.[71] In the 2011 Pro Bowl, Charles rushed for 72-yards on 10 carries and scored one touchdown.[72] Charles was honored for his performance in the 2010 season by being selected to his first AP All-Pro team.[73] On the NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2011, Charles was ranked the 33rd by his fellow players and was also one of the youngest players on the list.[74]

2011 season[edit]

Charles's 2011 season was short lived. In a Week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills, Charles rushed for 56 yards on 10 carries and had a receiving touchdown.[75] The following week, against the Detroit Lions, Charles ran for 27 yards on two carries, before suffering an ACL injury.[76] Chiefs head coach Todd Haley confirmed the next day that Charles would miss the remainder of the 2011 season.[77] Charles was officially placed on injured reserve on September 19.[78]

2012 season[edit]

Coming off of an ACL injury in 2011, Charles had an all-pro caliber season, running for 1,509 yards and 5 touchdowns. Once again, Charles proved to be very efficient running the ball as he managed a 5.3 yard per carry average on the year.[79] In the season opener against the Atlanta Falcons, he had 87 rushing yards on 16 carries in his first action back from injury.[80] In Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints, Charles ran 33 times for 233 yards, scored a touchdown, and caught 6 passes for 55 yards to earn his first AFC Offensive Player of the Week nod.[81][82] In Week 5 against Baltimore Ravens, Charles carried the ball 31 times for 140 yards in a loss.[83] However, in Week 8, Charles carried the ball only 5 times in a loss to the Oakland Raiders.[84] When asked the reason why, head coach Romeo Crennel said "Now, that I'm not exactly sure, either." [85] In a loss to the Cleveland Browns later in the season, Charles carried the ball 18 times for 165 yards and a touchdown.[86] In a loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Charles carried the ball 22 times for 226 yards and another touchdown.[87] Charles carried the ball 20+ times in 6 games, and in each of those games managed at least 100 yards. This has been a trend throughout his entire career, in every game he has carried the ball 20 times, he has gained at least 100 yards. On December 23, 2012, following his qualifying 750th career carry, Charles broke NFL legend Jim Brown's 47-year-old all-time average yards per carry record of 5.22 with an average of 5.82. He was named to his second Pro Bowl as a result of his successful season.[88] On the NFL Top 100 Players of 2013, he was ranked 20th by his peers.[89]

2013 season[edit]

Charles started the 2013 season with 77 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, three receptions, and 23 receiving yards in the 28–2 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.[90] On October 6, against the Tennessee Titans, he had 108 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in the 26–17 victory.[91] In the next game, a 24–7 victory over the Oakland Raiders, he had 78 rushing yards and two more rushing touchdowns.[92] On November 24, against the San Diego Chargers, he had 115 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.[93] On December 15, in the second divisional game against the Oakland Raiders, Charles had eight receptions for 195 yards, 20 rushing yards, and five total touchdowns in a 56–31 Chiefs victory.[94] Charles's performance made him the first Chiefs player to score five touchdowns in a game since Abner Haynes accomplished the feat for the Dallas Texans in 1961.[95] He became the first player in NFL history to have four touchdown receptions and one rushing touchdown in a single game.[96] He scored 30 total points in the game, which was tied with for the most by any player in a single game in the 2013 season, and earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.[97][98] He earned First Team All-Pro honors for the second time in his career.[99] He was named to his second consecutive and third career Pro Bowl.[100] He was ranked as the eighth best player in the NFL on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2014.[101]

2014 season[edit]

On July 23, 2014, one day after threatening to hold out of training camp, Charles agreed to 2-year $18.1 million extension making him one of the top five highest paid running backs in the NFL.[102] On September 14, 2014, Charles suffered a high ankle sprain against the Denver Broncos.[103] On September 29, against the New England Patriots, he had 92 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in the 41–14 victory to earn AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.[104][105] On October 19, against the San Diego Chargers, Charles passed Priest Holmes as the all-time leading rusher for the Chiefs.[106] In the next game, he had 67 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the 34–7 victory over the St. Louis Rams.[107] On November 16, against the Seattle Seahawks, he had 159 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the 24–20 victory.[108] On December 7, against the Arizona Cardinals, he had 91 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, two receptions, 20 receiving yards, and a receiving touchdown in the 17–14 loss.[109] Overall, he finished the 2014 season with 1,033 rushing yards, nine rushing touchdowns, 40 receptions, 291 receiving yards, and five receiving touchdowns.[110] He was named to his third consecutive Pro Bowl for the 2014 season.[111] He was ranked 12th by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2015.[112]

2015 season[edit]

In the season opener against the Houston Texans, Charles had 57 rushing yards, 46 receiving yards, and a receiving touchdown in the 27–20 victory.[113] Four days later, against the Denver Broncos, he had 125 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in the 31–24 loss on Thursday Night Football. In the loss, he had a key fumble late in the game that gave the Broncos the winning points.[114] In the next game, a 38–28 loss to the Green Bay Packers, he had 49 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.[115] On October 11, Charles tore his ACL in his right knee in a Week 5 game against the Chicago Bears. He was placed on injured reserve ending his season.[116][117] Despite the injury, Charles was still ranked 75th by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016.[118]

2016 season[edit]

Heading into the 2016 season, Charles never fully recovered from his torn ACL suffered the previous season. He returned to the field in Week 5 and played in 3 games recording 40 rushing yards plus a touchdown along with 2 receptions for 14 yards.[119] He suffered a setback with his knee prior to Week 8 and needed a second surgery on his knee to trim his meniscus. He was placed on injured reserve on November 1, 2016.[120]

On February 28, 2017, Charles was released by the Chiefs.[121]

Denver Broncos[edit]

On May 2, 2017, Charles signed a one-year, $3.75 million contract with the Denver Broncos.[122][123] In the season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football, Charles had 10 rushes for 40 yards but lost a fumble in his Broncos debut.[124] In Week 3, in a 26–16 loss to the Buffalo Bills, he scored his lone rushing touchdown of the season.[125] In 14 games, he had 296 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, 23 receptions, and 129 receiving yards.[126]

Career statistics[edit]

Season Team Games Rushing Receiving Fumbles
GP GS Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD FUM Lost
2008 Kansas City Chiefs 16 2 67 357 5.3 30 0 27 272 10.1 75 1 2 2
2009 Kansas City Chiefs 15 10 190 1,120 5.9 76T 7 40 297 7.4 49 1 4 3
2010 Kansas City Chiefs 16 6 230 1,467 6.4 80 5 45 468 10.4 31 3 3 2
2011 Kansas City Chiefs 2 1 12 83 6.9 24 0 5 9 1.8 9 1 1 1
2012 Kansas City Chiefs 16 15 285 1,509 5.3 91T 5 35 236 6.7 22 1 5 3
2013 Kansas City Chiefs 15 15 259 1,287 5.0 46 12 70 693 9.9 71 7 4 2
2014 Kansas City Chiefs 15 15 206 1,033 5.0 63T 9 40 291 7.3 30 5 5 3
2015 Kansas City Chiefs 5 5 71 364 5.1 34T 4 21 177 8.4 26 1 3 2
2016 Kansas City Chiefs 3 0 12 40 3.3 17 1 2 14 7.0 16 0 0 0
2017 Denver Broncos 14 0 69 296 4.3 19 1 23 129 5.6 20 0 2 2
Total 116 69 1,401 7,556 5.4 91T 44 308 2,586 8.4 75 20 29 20


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