KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The way Jamaal Charles figures it, he’s picking up where Priest Holmes left off.
After all, Charles and Holmes were both star running backs at Texas. They both wound up with the Kansas City Chiefs. And now that Holmes has been inducted into the franchise’s ring of honor, Charles plans to one day join him, his name also added to those inside Arrowhead Stadium.
“Me and Priest are cool,” Charles said after Sunday’s 24-10 win over the Jets. “We went to the same school. He gave me the torch. I’m just happy to be a part of this organization. I came here knowing they had some great running backs and I’m happy to be a part of it.
“At the end of my career, I hope to be in the Hall of Fame.”
Hard to tell whether he was referring to the franchise Hall of Fame or the one in Canton, Ohio. It might not matter, really. There’s a good chance Charles could end up in both.
He had another 78 yards rushing and a touchdown against the Jets and caught two passes for 10 yards. That gives Charles 435 yards rushing and five scores at the midway point of the season, numbers that would be even better had he not missed time with a sprained ankle.
Still, the perfectionist in Charles wasn’t thinking about the carries and the catches that he had Sunday. He was still stuck on the one pass that he dropped in the red zone.
“I could have easily walked in,” he said with a shake of his head.
In the modern era of pass-happy offenses and running backs-by-committee, Charles is a throw-back to, well, the days when Holmes was toting the ball for the Chiefs.
Charles had six carries on the opening drive Sunday and came out of the game only when he appeared to be gassed. Charles finished with a season-high 20 carries, setting the tone for the Chiefs by gouging the Jets defense with huge gains early on.
“He’s so dynamic,” said Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman. “Whenever you get the ball in his hands, he’s capable of breaking a long run. So get it to him as many times as possible.”
That’s a lesson that Chiefs coach Andy Reid learned early in the season.
The Chiefs gave Charles only a handful of touches in a blowout loss to Tennessee, and their offense languished. The following day, after a careful review of the game film, Reid acknowledged that he was “negligent” in using the biggest star on his team.
He hasn’t made the same mistake. And while Charles has yet to go over 100 yards rushing in a game this season, his dependability has allowed Kansas City to flourish.
Much to the delight of Holmes, whose franchise rushing record Charles broke earlier this season. Holmes amassed 6,070 yards rushing for the Chiefs from 2001-07, while Charles now has 6,258 yards over the course of his seven-year career.
“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.”