‘It would be a stretch’ for Chiefs’ Jamaal Charles to play Sunday

Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles waved to fans during training camp last month.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles waved to fans during training camp last month. The Associated Press

For the last several weeks, Chiefs coach Andy Reid has gone about softly tempering expectations about running back Jamaal Charles’ availability for the start of the season.

And on Monday, Reid continued along that path, saying the 29-year-old Charles, who is working his way back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, probably won’t be ready to go for their season opener against the San Diego Chargers on Sept. 11 at Arrowhead Stadium.

“Yeah, Jamaal has to keep working through it — it would be a stretch for him to play on Sunday,” Reid said. “We’ll see how it goes, though.”

The news is not necessarily a surprise. The Chiefs currently have three star players on the active roster who did not log a snap all preseason in Charles, outside linebacker Tamba Hali and safety Eric Berry. On Saturday, Reid said Charles is the furthest away of the trio from returning to action.

If Charles does not play, it will leave Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West and Knile Davis — in that order — to carry the load.

Ware, who is listed at 5 feet 10 and 229 pounds, has consistently received the No. 1 reps throughout the offseason ahead of West, who missed the last three exhibition games with an elbow injury.

Ware led the Chiefs in rushing touchdowns throughout the preseason with three, but when asked Monday if it was too simplistic to call him the team’s goal-line back, Reid hinted it was.

“I’m good with all three of them in that spot — I think all three are pretty good at being the dart you need to be down in there when finding the hole,” Reid said. “All three have good lower body strength.”

Davis has consistently received reps behind those Ware and West throughout camp, but has made his mark in recent years as a kick returner. Still, when asked if Davis is the team’s top kick-return option for Sunday, Reid did not commit to him as the sole option, saying it is in special-teams coach Dave Toub’s hands.

“It just depends,” Reid said. “Coach Toub has got a couple things going there. We feel good about him for sure.”

Reid had some nice things to say about Davis, who has generally handled his demotion — he was the team’s No. 2 running back until last season — with class while earning a spot on the 53-man roster.

“Knile did a great job of earning his spot there and he’s worked his tail off getting it,” Reid said. “He’s had some great games for us. He could have hung his head and pouted about it, but he hasn’t. He came out, busted his tail and did a good job for us. We feel really good about that position.”