Running backs Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis had great seasons in 2010. In 2011, however, disappointment was in the cards for both men; Charles tore an ACL early in the year, and Hillis’ performed was diminished by a bizarre mix of injury and ineffectiveness and, to an extent, delusion.
They’ve combined forces in Kansas City, with Hillis joining as a free agent the team with which Charles has spent his entire career. In a Tuesday session with the local media, Charles welcomed the addition of Hillis.
“I feel like he’s the same as Thomas Jones,” Charles said. “He’s going to come in and get all the tough yards and all the power and I feel like that was the same thing when Thomas was here. I don’t really care, I’m not a selfish player, and I just want to win. If he can contribute to the team and put points on the board, why not? I don’t care about how many yards; I feel like every week if we win the game, I don’t have any complaints. He came in, we brought him in to win games. We didn’t bring him in to compete with each other, but we’ll compete with each other in a certain way. But I don’t think he’s on this team, I’m on that team, I want to beat him up. I want to train with him and be his best friend.”
It’s unclear when Charles will be able to do more than train. Charles said his knee is at “about 80 percent,” but he added that he has been “running and cutting and jumping” since four months after the injury. “I feel like I never had the surgery because I feel normal, I feel like I can do everything that everybody else can do and I can do it better,” Charles said.
Charles believes he’s ready to fully participate in OTAs, but that he plans to defer to Dr. Andrews, who performed the surgery. Until then, Charles will try to remain patient — even though he obviously is anxious to get back on the field.
“I’m hungry,” Charles said. “I want it this year. I’ve got the passion for it. I can be patient. I just can’t wait to play football, I can’t wait to bring stuff back to this community and show how much we can win. And I feel like this is a year for us, that we can go all the way because I can feel it. And me, I feel I can bring a lot to the team this year being bigger and stronger, and I don’t know, maybe even faster. I can wait awhile. In my mind, I want to get back out there because I want to see where I’m at, but I feel like I’m already there, so I can just wait.”
Chiefs fans surely can’t wait to see what will happen for a team that nearly won the division despite not having Charles and safety Eric Berry and tight end Tony Moeaki for most of the year. With a dysfunctional situation between the coach and the G.M. now resolved via the replacement of the coach, the Chiefs could be a lot better in 2012 — one year after they were still pretty darn good despite plenty of adversity and drama.