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What Did Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles Show Us in 2014?

A look back at Charles' record-breaking 2014 season


That should be the first way to describe what Jamaal Charles showed us during the 2014 season, a year that saw him become the Chiefs' all-time leading rusher as he passed former great Priest Holmes' (2001-07) record of 6,070 career rushing yards.

Charles finished the season with 206 carries for 1,033 yards and nine rushing touchdowns and now has 6,856 career rushing yards to lead the Chiefs.

"I was a little beat up the whole season," Charles said after the Chiefs' final game against San Diego.

Battling nagging injuries throughout the season and for the franchise-leading fifth time in his career, Charles amassed more than 1,000 rushing yards.

He's just the third player in NFL history to have at least five seasons with 1,000 yards and an average of at least five yards per carry, joining the elite company of Jim Brown and Barry Sanders as the only players who have accomplished that feat.


The Chiefs have had 17 different seasons with a 1,000-yard rusher, and Charles owns five of those seasons.

"It's great to be the leading rusher for an organization but you've got guys like Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith with more than 15,000 rushing yards," Charles explained. "That's something I wish to get to someday."

In 2014, Charles' season started slow after an ankle injury he suffered in Week 2 against Denver forced him to miss the Week 3 game against the Miami Dolphins.

But Charles bounced back in a big way against the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football the following week, when he had 21 total touches for 108 yards and three touchdowns.

"He's dirty tough," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "There's a special category for those guys, and he's in that category. There are not a lot of those guys around, but he's a beast for sure."

According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Charles ranked No. 4 in the NFL in yards after contact by running backs this season at 2.63 yards per attempt.

PFF's Yards After Contact Rankings
Rank Player Team Weight Yco/att
1 Marshawn Lynch Seattle Seahawks 215 2.96
2 Arian Foster Houston Texans 227 2.83
3 Eddie Lacy Green Bay Packers 230 2.82
4 Jeremy Hill Cincinnati Bengals 238 2.8
5 Jamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs 199 2.63
6 Joique Bell Detroit Lions 229 2.62
7 Alfred Morris Washington Redskins 224 2.55
8 DeMarco Murray Dallas Cowboys 217 2.54
9 Chris Ivory New York Jets 222 2.46
10 Le'Veon Bell Pittsburgh Steelers 244 2.44

As you can see in this chart, of the top 10 players in the NFL in yards after contact, Charles is the only one that weighs less than 215 pounds.

Not often given enough credit for his ability to break through tackles, Charles is widely known for his speed. But it's the tough yards that have helped Charles earn a career 5.49 yards-per-carry average, which is the best in NFL history.

But the individual awards aren't what Charles is all about.

"Right now I'm ready for bigger things," Charles said. "I'm happy to be the leading rusher but I want a ring and that's what I want more than anything. I don't want to be known just for my individual awards; I want to be known as a team player as well."

Charles signed a contract extension with the Chiefs before training camp that runs through the 2017 season.

Charles' leadership will be counted on moving forward for the Chiefs, and after the 19-7 win over San Diego in Week 17, he reflected on 2014.

Photos from the 2014 season of Jamaal Charles

"We've got to just feed off this win going into next season," Charles said. "We had a great season. We didn't finish on some games and we missed out. I think we hurt ourselves and we know that.

"I told everybody, 'The team is going to be different next year. Playing with you all this whole season is a blessing.' We still have a brotherhood but starting next season, whoever is here—we've got to step our game up.'"

While Charles uses the offseason to heal after a season that saw him with many bumps and bruises, he admitted that watching the playoffs would be tough.

"It's going to definitely be heartbreaking to watch other teams in the playoffs this season and we aren't in it with nine wins," Charles said. "But I'm glad Coach Reid is here because he brings a consistent winner and he can come back next year and find better players and help us get to that playoff game."

Related Jamaal Charles' Content

*"Since I've been in this league, I've been known as an underdog," Charles said back at training camp after signing an extension with the Chiefs. "I still have to earn my respect, I still have to go out there and perform."

His coaches and teammates laude his work ethic and his determination comes from an underdog mentality, something you often see from the best players in the world no matter what the sport.

Full article & video of Charles' Top 5 Career Runs: Charles' Becomes All-Time Leading Rusher

"Hats off to him," Holmes said. "We pride ourselves in having something to have to do with the running backs out of Texas. Not only that, but records are meant to be broken. I've had a share of records that I've been able to break.

''It's always about setting that bar a little bit further up."

Being able to protect the quarterback in passing situations is something Charles has taken pride in since he was in college at the University of Texas.

"I just need to give the quarterback three or four seconds to throw the ball," Charles said. "That's something I take pride in."

"Jamaal is an elite player in the National Football League," Chiefs General Manager John Dorsey said. "It was important for us to keep him here in Kansas City long-term."

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