Jamaal Charles pens farewell to Kansas City: ‘In a way, I grew up there’

A month after signing with one of the Chiefs’ top rivals, running back Jamaal Charles penned a blog Tuesday looking back on his time in Kansas City.

In the long essay, Charles, now a Denver Bronco, says, “I spent some of the best years of my life in Kansas City. In a way, I grew up there.”

The Chiefs released Charles, the franchise’s career leading rusher, in February, saving the team more than $6 million against the salary cap.

While meeting with the Denver media Monday, Charles was asked about riling up Chiefs fans with an old picture of him wearing an Elway jersey, a photo he included in his blog Tuesday. He replied that the photo was from college and added, “I’m just excited to be a Bronco right now. I’m not really caring about what people think. I was fired.”

Charles, a 2008 third-round pick, ran for 7,260 yards in Kansas City and averaged 5.5 yards per carry, the latter currently sitting as best mark in NFL history.

“After the Chiefs let me go, I’m not going to lie, it was hard,” Charles wrote in Tuesday’s post. “I’ve never been through something quite like that before, and it is kind of crazy how things work in the NFL.”

He signed a one-year pact last month with the Broncos — a team he called “right at the top of my list from the get-go of being a free agent.” The deal is worth up to $3.75 million, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

“Before I got to the NFL, I really liked the Broncos growing up, as a fan,” Charles wrote. “Specifically, I’ve been a big fan of John Elway since high school.

“It does seem a little crazy to have him, a guy who I grew up watching and rooting for, signing me to play here in Denver.”

Charles tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in October 2015. He returned for Week 4 last season against Pittsburgh, but his knee began to experience swelling the following week. He finished with only 12 carries in 2016.

“Knowing that a lot of people, and I’m sure some other teams, maybe are counting me out or think I can’t be the player I was anymore, well, that really drives me too,” Charles wrote. “There’s definitely a fire in me. I have something to prove. I go into every year with that mindset, but I definitely feel like that element is even bigger this year, and I like it.”

Charles discussed a variety of other topics in the blog, including his wife giving birth to his first son in March, his relationship with former Chiefs teammates and his ongoing rehab process.