Chiefs fans will soon need to brace for another KC legend to join the archrival Broncos after all-time leading rusher Jamaal Charles signed with Denver on Tuesday.
Charles, 30, visited Denver during a free-agent visit with the club. The deal is for one year and is worth up to $3.75 million, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Broncos vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway confirmed the signing on Twitter.
With the move, Charles becomes the latest Chiefs legend to land in Denver. Defensive end Neil Smith, a five-time Pro Bowler with the Chiefs from 1988 to 1996, signed with the Broncos in 1997 and won two Super Bowls.
“I had Denver on my list, and it was a no-brainer when they were interested in me,” Charles told the Broncos’ web site. “I have a lot (left in the tank).”
Charles also told Elway it was an honor to be a Bronco, and he inspired him growing up.
“I just want to bring some experience to the team and some explosiveness,” Charles said.
The Chiefs released Charles, a third-round pick in 2008, in late February after a tremendous nine-year run with the team in which he rushed for 7,260 yards, nearly 1,200 more than Priest Holmes.
Charles’ career yards-per-carry average of 5.5 ranks first among NFL running backs, ahead of Hall of Famers Jim Brown’s 5.2, Gale Sayers’ 5.0, and Barry Sanders’ 5.0.
The Chiefs gained approximately $6.187 million in cap savings by releasing Charles.
In many ways, the right anterior cruciate ligament that Charles tore against the Chicago Bears in October 2015 was the beginning of the end of his run in Kansas City. He rehabbed the knee and returned for the Chiefs’ Week 4 game last season against Pittsburgh, eventually logging season-highs with 11 touches and 15 snaps in an Oct. 16 win over Oakland.
But Charles’ knee swelled after a practice the following week, and he only logged two snaps Oct. 23 against the Saints. He missed the next game against Indianapolis and visited noted orthopedic surgeon James Andrews shortly thereafter, a move that eventually landed him on injured reserve after rushing only 12 times for 40 yards and a touchdown.
“I haven’t had a chance to show people what I can do coming back after the last surgeries,” Charles said. “I want to prove people wrong.”