Did running back Jamaal Charles have a Pro Football Hall of Fame career?
Charles, who played the bulk of his career for the Chiefs, is one of nine players eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time and was among the 173 modern-era candidates for the Class of 2024 announced by the NFL on Tuesday.
A player has to be out of the league for five full seasons, and Charles played his final NFL game in 2018 for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
But Charles is best known for his nine seasons with the Chiefs. He’s the franchise leader in rushing yards with 7,260, and only one other running back in NFL history with at least 750 rushing attempts averaged more than Charles’ 5.4 yards per attempt.
Charles was a threat to score wherever the ball was snapped. In 2012, Charles scored on touchdown runs of 91, 86 and 80 yards.
The four-time Pro Bowler had world-class speed. At Texas, he won the Big 12 outdoor 100-meters and was an All-American in the indoor 60 meters.
Only injuries seemed to slow Charles. In 2011, he tore his ACL in the second game and missed the rest of the season. Another ACL tear in 2015 cost him 24 games over two seasons.
Charles topped 1,000 rushing yards with the Chiefs five times with a best of 1,509 in 2012. When Andy Reid took over the Chiefs the next season, Charles became a receiving threat out of the backfield and caught seven touchdown passes while piling up 1,980 yards rushing and receiving.
That season, in a game at the Oakland Raiders, Charles scored five touchdowns, four receiving and one rushing.
His numbers fall below the average Hall of Fame running back, according to pro-football-reference.com. The average career rushing total for the 25 enshrined backs is 10,991 yards.
But few running backs were more electric than Charles. He’s one of nine players in their first year of eligibility, a list that includes former Kansas State wide receiver Jordy Nelson.
The list of modern-era candidates included several who played most of their careers with the Chiefs, like running back Priest Holmes, wide receiver and return man Dante Hall, fullback Tony Richardson, offensive linemen Dave Szott and Brian Waters, defensive end Neil Smith and linebacker Donnie Edwards.
A pair of former Chiefs defensive backs, Albert Lewis and Deron Cherry were modern-era nominees until last season, and now their cases have been passed to a group that considers senior candidates.
The modern-era nominees will be reduced to 25 in December, and the Hall of Fame Class of 2024 will be announced before the Super Bowl.