It was hard not to notice how hard Jamaal Charles ran in the Chiefs’ 26-10 win over Oakland on Sunday.
You could argue Charles, 29, showed flashes of his old self — the player who has averaged 5.5 yards per carry throughout his NFL career. Charles rushed for 33 yards in nine carries, showing quickness, burst and surprising power while scoring his first touchdown of the season.
But while Chiefs coach Andy Reid noted Monday that while it was good to have Charles back “in all areas,” Spencer Ware, a 229-pound bruiser, still out-touched Charles 26 to 11 and logged more snaps, 40 to 15, an indication the Chiefs are still cautious with their star as he works his way back from a second torn anterior cruciate ligament.
“Is he ready to carry it every down? I don’t think that’s where we’re at right this minute,” Reid said of Charles. “But he got more carries than he did against Pittsburgh, and his attitude — from the get-go — has been give me the ball, I want to play. The attitude is awesome.”
Reid made it clear he liked what he saw from Charles on Sunday.
“It was great to see him get in the end zone, it was great to see him run hard and not shy away from contact or anything,” Reid said. “He looked like he was all in … there was a point where we were feeding him a little bit and he was breathing hard, but he was loving every minute of it and wanted more, and that’s good. He came out of the game feeling good, he came out of the game wanting more, and that’s how I wanted it.”
Charles said he felt 110 percent after playing 10 snaps in the loss at Pittsburgh a week ago. After the win Sunday, he placed his full faith in Reid to ration his playing time appropriately.
“I leave all that to Coach Reid,” Charles said, when asked if his limited playing time Sunday was injury related. “I’m healthy, so that doesn’t have anything to do with it.”
Charles, who recently spoke about his faith helping his comeback, was also asked if there was ever a dark time after the second ACL injury of his career.
“Nah, man, because it’s not about me — it’s about God, the Lord,” Charles said. “To see people come back from two ACLs, it can’t be all me. All the power comes from Him. … I believe in God because I’m back on the field with two ACLs and I’m still going out there and dominating.”
Dominating might be a touch too strong, at least at the moment. But Charles certainly looked good Sunday, and Reid has said he knows a player of Charles’ pedigree should never be counted out.
“When you talk about Jamaal, you’re talking about a future Hall of Fame player,” Reid said. “We always say, ‘You’re not going to replace Jamaal, that’s not what you do.’ ”