Jamaal Charles and nine other NFL stars who joined an enemy team
Former Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles caught heat this week after signing with Denver because he talked about always wanting to play for the Broncos. Charles also called football a business and said he was excited to play the Chiefs twice a year.
The remarks ruffled feathers in Kansas City, but Charles tried to clarify his remarks while on a podcast called “Unmatched Sports with Cal Jones” and said he has no bitterness for the Chiefs.
“Nah, I won’t be against Kansas City,” Charles said. “That sounds crazy, man. I would never be against Kansas City, because at the end of the day, they gave me my chance here. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to show them what I can do. Right here was my first opportunity, my first dream to play in the NFL and everything started here. I wish I could have finished out, but God had a different plan for me, and I’m just excited for the next chapter.”
Charles said he was a Broncos fan as kid growing up in Texas, but when he was playing for the Chiefs he never had a desire to play for Denver. So signing with the Broncos wasn’t a way to get back at the Chiefs, Charles said.
“I felt like it was more personal to the Chiefs than it was to me,” Charles said on the podcast. “Them letting me go, I love this community. I did a lot. I sweat, bleed, two ACLs, meniscus, I left that all out here in Kansas City. My heart will always be in Kansas City. It’s nothing personal.
“I’m excited what the next chapter has for me. I had no choice. It’s not like I asked for a trade. They let me go. At the end of the day, I will always love the Hunt family, the organization. They care. They’re first class as well. They bring in great people. The whole organization, I will miss them forever.”
Charles, 30, was released by Chiefs on Feb. 28, but said on the podcast that he would have taken less money to stay in KC.
“I thought maybe they would give me a grace period. But I haven’t performed the last two years,” said Charles, who twice tore knee ligaments while with the Chiefs. “At the same time, I know it was about business. I think it would have been cool if they came and told me about a pay cut because I think I would’ve taken that pay cut, because I think I owed it to them for allowing me to be on the team. But I felt like when I got that call, it was just like, man, it was just OK, man. If it can happen to Peyton Manning it can happen to anybody.”
Manning was released by the Colts in 2012 and later signed with the Broncos, where he helped the team reach two Super Bowls, winning one.
Near the end of the podcast, host Cal Jones said he was happy to have Charles “clear the air,” and Charles talked about why he talked up the Broncos. In doing that, Charles made an unusual comparison.
“The Chiefs will always be in my heart,” Charles said. “I left too much there to disrespect their fans and disrespect their organization. I left too much there. And it’s not like it’s an actual trade. I got fired, basically. Now why wouldn’t I try to brag about the Denver Broncos? They try to bring me in to basically put me back on top and see me succeed instead of seeing me fall. Why am I not going to accept that and embrace that spirit?
“I’m just happy to be a part of something that somebody instead of seeing the person down like a homeless person, he can go up there and pick him up and ask if he needs something, this and that. Basically that’s what the Denver Broncos did and why am I not going to embrace that?”