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Jamaal Charles wants to be viewed like Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith

jamaalcharles AP

Jamaal Charles isn’t satisfied just being one of the best running backs in the NFL today. He wants to be one of the best running backs in NFL history.

Charles told the Associated Press he that wants to be mentioned in the same breath as Emmitt Smith and Barry Sanders.

“It’s all about staying consistent,” Charles said. “I want to be in the Hall of Fame when I retire. I want to win a championship. That’s what it’s all about.”

If a running back’s only job were breaking long runs, Charles would already be among the NFL’s all-time greats: Charles has averaged 5.6 yards a carry in his career, the highest average for any running back in NFL history.

But what keeps Charles from joining the all-time greats like Sanders and Smith is that Charles hasn’t handled anything close to the kind of workload that Sanders and Smith managed. Sanders wasn’t just a great producer of highlight-reel runs, he was also remarkably consistent: In 10 NFL seasons, he led the league in rushing four times, was second in the league three times, was third once, fourth once and fifth once. Smith also led the league in rushing four times, and he was third once, fourth once and fifth once. Charles, meanwhile, has never led the league in rushing and has only been in the Top 10 three times.

Charles was only a part-time player early in his career and missed all but two games in 2011 because of a knee injury, and even in his most productive season he only carried the ball 285 times. Sanders and Smith each had seven seasons of more than 300 carries.

If Charles continues to play over the next few years like he has for the last couple of years, he may accomplish his goal of making it to the Hall of Fame. But Sanders and Smith are a notch above even most Hall of Fame running backs. That’s the kind of rarefied air that Charles isn’t going to reach.

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73 Responses to “Jamaal Charles wants to be viewed like Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith”
  1. Heretopissuoff says: Aug 4, 2014 6:45 PM

    The only running back that should be viewed as Barry is Lesean McCoy

    Khalil Mack> Clowney and Barr

  2. harrisonhits2 says: Aug 4, 2014 6:45 PM

    These guys have 1 good year now and think they’re the best ever.

    NO – you’re not anywhere near as good as someone who performed in the top 5 at their position their whole long careers.

  3. valentino8100 says: Aug 4, 2014 6:46 PM

    All you need to be viewed like Emmitt is the best line in the history of the league, so that you can “fall forward for four yards”, as I heard so many times on CBS Sunday afternoons in the 90’s.

    Barry? ROFL! Keep dreaming.

  4. 4thquartermagic says: Aug 4, 2014 6:46 PM

    The league is no longer built to produce backs with that kind of consistency.

    Days of the “workhorse” back are over.

    Which would make a 2,000+ years rusher nowadays even more impressive.

  5. 6thsense10 says: Aug 4, 2014 6:48 PM

    I always saw Charles as closer to Marshall Caulk except Faulk was probably a tougher runner. Faulk also had great receiving skills for a rb. He was also explosive as both a runner and receiver. Charles is one of the most explosive runner in league history. He is probably on par with anyone in NFL history in that regards. However he is not amongst the best pure runner.

  6. mcfleezy12 says: Aug 4, 2014 6:50 PM

    I want to be viewed like Michael Jordan, Kobe or Lebron.

  7. jonnguy2014 says: Aug 4, 2014 6:51 PM

    Jammal Charles has a 50-50 shot to reach 10k club.

  8. abninf says: Aug 4, 2014 6:52 PM

    Kind of seems like a championship is secondary.

  9. floratiotime says: Aug 4, 2014 6:54 PM

    Retired ?

  10. lks311 says: Aug 4, 2014 6:54 PM

    Brown, Payton, Sanders, Smith…it’s a small club.

  11. stampnhawk says: Aug 4, 2014 6:56 PM

    Looks like they put the mic in front on another attendee of Anthony Robbins’ latest 5 hour seminar.

  12. smalltownqb says: Aug 4, 2014 6:57 PM

    The problem with Charles is that it is a heart attack every time someone hits him. Don’t remember feeling that way every time Barry or Emmit were hit.

  13. nite2al says: Aug 4, 2014 6:58 PM

    Barry is a human highlight reel, but when you need the tough yards, goal line TDs, and to control the clock, Emmitt is the guy.

    Most NFL fans think Barry is the better running back and he may be from a pure running sense. But Emmitt wasn’t a drive-killer with frequent runs for negative yards like Barry.

    And don’t give me that great Dallas line crap; Emmitt squeezed out a lot of tough yards when the blocking wasn’t there while Barry would just dance around. If Barry were that much better, the Lions wouldn’t have to pull him when they got to the goal line. This is where Emmitt excelled. The name of the game is not 60 yard runs, it’s touchdowns.

    Jamaal, just be like Emmitt. Both guys? …you can’t have your cake and eat it too!

  14. buffaloisadumpsterandtheirfansaremorons says: Aug 4, 2014 6:59 PM

    Chris Johnson > Jamaal Charles

    Calvin Pryor > Ed Reed & Ronnie Lott

  15. gerard33 says: Aug 4, 2014 7:01 PM

    Individually, he is in that airspace. The Chiefs must win big playoff games though, or he will never ever be a household name like Emmitt and Walter.

  16. onenineninee says: Aug 4, 2014 7:02 PM

    He said he WANTS to be viewed like them when its all said and done, not now. I’ve seen why people loathe the media, why would you purposefully create a headline meant to make him look like an entitled arrogant hothead?

  17. bigwalt2990 says: Aug 4, 2014 7:04 PM

    There will never be another Barry….There may never be another Megatron…The Lions make me sad…

  18. faepernick says: Aug 4, 2014 7:04 PM

    Nothing wrong with aspiring to be great

  19. raiderapologist says: Aug 4, 2014 7:04 PM

    abninf says: Aug 4, 2014 6:52 PM

    Kind of seems like a championship is secondary.
    ————-
    He realizes who he plays for. That team hasn’t won anything since Nixon was in office.

  20. lks311 says: Aug 4, 2014 7:04 PM

    smalltownqb says:
    Aug 4, 2014 6:57 PM
    The problem with Charles is that it is a heart attack every time someone hits him. Don’t remember feeling that way every time Barry or Emmit were hit.
    —–
    No one ever squared Sanders up. Which is why players of his era call him the GOAT.

  21. poorcalvinisstuckonthecrappylions says: Aug 4, 2014 7:04 PM

    Notice he didn’t say Sweetness!

  22. bigwalt2990 says: Aug 4, 2014 7:06 PM

    When you played the Lions in the 90s, all you had to do was shut down Barry…..how many defenses were able to do that? He was a 1 man offense. (like Calvin)

  23. ashevillechief says: Aug 4, 2014 7:06 PM

    Jamal is a way tougher runner than you guys give him credit for. Workhorse? Highest % of team offense last year of anyone in the league.

  24. thestrategyexpert says: Aug 4, 2014 7:07 PM

    Ok just don’t include any comparisons during your HOF speech and we’re cool!

  25. s0merand0mguy says: Aug 4, 2014 7:14 PM

    Yeah? Get in line behind Peterson and McCoy

  26. joetoronto says: Aug 4, 2014 7:14 PM

    He’s dreaming large, the guys is as soft as they come.

  27. huskywolverine says: Aug 4, 2014 7:19 PM

    And Alex Smith wants to be viewed a legitimate QB.

    Neither is likely to happen.

  28. micknangold says: Aug 4, 2014 7:24 PM

    “Which would make a 2,000+ years rusher nowadays even more impressive.”

    Did you miss the 2012 NFL season?

  29. vancouversportsbro says: Aug 4, 2014 7:28 PM

    You guys need to lighten up. Charles is a beast. From what I saw last year he was certainly among the leagues best. He’s no Barry sanders but emmitt smith played behind the best offensive line for years

  30. weaselpuppy says: Aug 4, 2014 7:34 PM

    Jamal Charles=Warrick Dunn. Pretty similar career paths, size/styles

    Not baggin on Charles…Dunn is #19 on the all time rushing list, though likely to be passed by SJax, AP and Gore this year.

    Never would have guessed he got that high though.

    Brown-Barry-Sweetness

    ————

    Emmit, Dickerson, OJ
    ——————–

    LT,Dorsett,Faulk, Campbell, AP.

    rest are debatable anywhere on the spectrum

    Injury coulda-been ward- Sayers, Sims, T Davis

  31. flavas says: Aug 4, 2014 7:36 PM

    He will never have anything in common with Emmitt–he’ll get hurt before he can break any records …

    The only thing he will ever have in common with Barry is a lack of Super Bowl rings…

  32. isphet71 says: Aug 4, 2014 7:37 PM

    What I think is funny is that the only RB that didn’t want to be viewed as Barry Sanders was Barry Sanders…

    He was so humble when he wasn’t napping on the sidelines during a game :)

  33. Most of you would be rapturous if your team won just one measly Super Bowl. We won it once, then again, and again, and again, yet again, oh, look, another one. You shrivel in our shadow. We define greatness. We built the NFL. We are the Steelers. says: Aug 4, 2014 7:42 PM

    When it’s all said and done, Bell will be considered a top 5 all-time back.

  34. blogatron2000 says: Aug 4, 2014 7:55 PM

    I wonder how many of the “experts” commenting here actually watch Jamaal Charles play on a regular basis? Are you basing your opinion of him on your past fantasy football drafts? If so, you’re missing something really special.

    Charles and the Chiefs don’t get the national media coverage that others do and never will but that’s ok. For those who don’t know, Charles is every bit as good as Peterson and McCoy and is shouldering more of the load for his team than either of them.

    He isn’t claiming to be in the same league with Barry and Emmit at this point but is aspiring to be there when he’s done. There is nothing wrong with being driven to be the best.

  35. natelan says: Aug 4, 2014 8:01 PM

    As a Chargers fan, I will say he possesses the potential, but I still think it’s unlikely that he reaches that level. But best wishes to him.

  36. shotgunformation5wide says: Aug 4, 2014 8:01 PM

    Priest Holmes was a beast for the Chiefs!

  37. topcide says: Aug 4, 2014 8:30 PM

    this is one of the ways you can tell great players from good players

    Good players bring themelves up in a sentence with the best of all time at their position and try to compare themselves to them and justify why he is in their class when everyone knows they are not.

    Great players get brought up by others and compared to the best of all time at thier position, and the player says he is not in their class when everyone knows that they are.

  38. jjackwagon says: Aug 4, 2014 8:39 PM

    That team hasn’t won anything since Nixon was in office.
    *********************************************
    But it has won the division twice since the last time your team did it. In fact, EVERY team in the AFC West has won it twice since the last time your team did it. LMAO!!!

  39. gooboy6 says: Aug 4, 2014 8:39 PM

    Funny how many negative people there are , must have learned it from their parents

  40. nobreak1269 says: Aug 4, 2014 8:39 PM

    Um….NO CHANCE.Your not THAT good Jamal.

  41. airman821 says: Aug 4, 2014 8:44 PM

    Jamaal will end up in the top ten easily anyhow. How “great” will be part luck and all Nature. As a Chiefs fan we are blessed to have him. All the really good ones are aspiring to be the best, and Charles is normally a very humble guy. His YPC already is a fantasy stat surpassing Brown, which is amazing by itself. He remains healthy, he will be HOF imo. Better than P Holmes, who is immortalized by Chiefs fans.

  42. s0merand0mguy says: Aug 4, 2014 8:46 PM

    Every announcer that speaks of McCoy always mentions how he reminds them of Barry Sanders. Again…. Try a different comparison.

  43. igocommando says: Aug 4, 2014 9:04 PM

    Well at least he didn’t say something ridiculous like “being viewed as Adrian Peterson”.

  44. joneyjoney says: Aug 4, 2014 9:04 PM

    Anybody who claims that Jamaal Charles isn’t a great back doesn’t watch the Chiefs or any actual games for that matter. Probably just those loathsome fantasy football marks that sadly judge players based on fantasy stats.

    Should he be mentioned with Barry Sanders or Emmitt Smith? Not yet, but if you experts would’ve read the headline, it reads that he wants to be mentioned with them when he’s done. What in the hell is wrong with that??

    If you actually watched him play, like once, I guarantee you’d be surprised.

  45. kcflake says: Aug 4, 2014 9:18 PM

    Die hard Chiefs fan here. Jamall, you are already barry s. And emmitt s. In my book. You are an amazing player and us chiefs fans are lucky to have you. Go chiefs.

  46. ghjjf says: Aug 4, 2014 9:31 PM

    He can be viewed like Barry,….i.e. no championships!

  47. madmike66 says: Aug 4, 2014 9:32 PM

    Charles needs to be concerned with being considered among the best of his own generation first. To date he hasn’t put together a career that comes close to Peterson. He doesn’t have an eye popping 2,000 yard campaign like Peterson or Johnson have. He doesn’t stack up to McCoy. In his firsth 6 years he has 2 great years, 2 really good years, and 2 years under 400 yards. In his first 6 years he has 5,823 yards….Peterson has 10,115 yards in his first 7. Charles isn’t even close to being the best back of his time, let alone all time. And it isn’t all just yards either…Charles has 29 rushing TDs. Peterson has 82. McCoy has 10 more rushing TDs in 1 fewer season, and almost as many yards. Charles needs to step away from the pipe.

  48. smstonerock says: Aug 4, 2014 9:44 PM

    Calvin Johnson is the best wr in nfl history. And no I’m not kidding.

  49. daveshingle says: Aug 4, 2014 10:37 PM

    Why do NFL players always talk about stuff like this? In a sport that really has no best anything. When figuring out the best player ever it is always murky in football

  50. 1historian says: Aug 4, 2014 10:39 PM

    Talk is cheap. Jim Brown played in 9 seasons, I think 7 of them were 12 game seasons. he gained at least 1000 yards in all but one of them, he led the league in 8 of the 9 seasons, he was the biggest baddest best RB ever. (Every single back who broke his record played in seasons at least 14 games long, most of them played in 16 game regular seasons.)

    After he scored a TD he would just flip the ball to the ref and trot off the field.

    The message was clear – I’ll be back.

    The trend today is “If you’ve got it – flaunt it.”

    Wrong

    “If you’ve GOT it – you don’t have to flaunt it. ”

    Or

    “If you flaunt it – you haven’t got it.”

  51. 941bucs says: Aug 4, 2014 10:42 PM

    But sir charles….your better tgan both of those dudes, as far as all-around back goes. Plus you still have a few years to go. Yes, I believe when 100% healthy, your lookin at the best rb in the game today – bucs\saints fan

  52. slick50ks says: Aug 4, 2014 10:59 PM

    If Jamaal got the carries these other guys get/got, he’d have gone for 2500 already.

    That’s ok though, because he’ll last much longer this way, and his YPC is insane.

    We all know there’s only one Barry, he’s the best RB that ever drew a breath, and for my money he’s the best player in history.

    As a Chiefs fan, I want Jamaal to aspire to be Barry freaking Sanders. He’s the standard bearer for NFL RB’s.

  53. packfanaj12 says: Aug 4, 2014 11:05 PM

    He has a good start, but still a long way to go!

  54. gerwinke1985 says: Aug 4, 2014 11:12 PM

    nite2al says: Aug 4, 2014 6:58 PM

    Barry is a human highlight reel, but when you need the tough yards, goal line TDs, and to control the clock, Emmitt is the guy.

    Most NFL fans think Barry is the better running back and he may be from a pure running sense. But Emmitt wasn’t a drive-killer with frequent runs for negative yards like Barry.

    And don’t give me that great Dallas line crap; Emmitt squeezed out a lot of tough yards when the blocking wasn’t there while Barry would just dance around. If Barry were that much better, the Lions wouldn’t have to pull him when they got to the goal line. This is where Emmitt excelled. The name of the game is not 60 yard runs, it’s touchdowns.

    Jamaal, just be like Emmitt. Both guys? …you can’t have your cake and eat it too!

    Ummm…..The line part is a big reason why Barry had to dance around…..I figured that part was pretty obvious. Barry was far and away the better back of the two. He made something out of nothing on a regular basis. Yeah, he did have to dance in the back field…..because the defensive line and linebackers had already penetrated that far by the time he got the ball.

  55. gerwinke1985 says: Aug 4, 2014 11:16 PM

    Oh and btw he killed any comparison to Barry the moment he started talking. Barry was about as humble as they come. The guy kept to himself, didn’t live a flashy lifestyle and used to drive his busted up Toyota to the field every day. He let his play do the talking….or his dad on some occasions….because he was always talking. Barry never viewed himself as the best and certainly didn’t think he was.

  56. somethinghappeninghere says: Aug 4, 2014 11:28 PM

    Charles isn’t even the best RB now (that is Adrian Peterson, right?) So he cannot be compared to Smith or Sanders.

  57. babygaga19 says: Aug 4, 2014 11:45 PM

    Jesus, what is Charles on? I want some!

  58. myfriendbobsacamano says: Aug 4, 2014 11:46 PM

    he must’ve forgot Andy Reid wants to chuck the ball all day… ask any Eagle RB the last 15 yrs

  59. 88xfactor says: Aug 4, 2014 11:51 PM

    How do you decide who is the greatest back of all time? Is it how sweet his runs are? Is it how fast he run? Is it the long runs? Last I checked, it was all about the numbers. Emmit Smith has more rushing yards than any running back in the history of the NFL. End of story!! And as for as Emmit’ s offensive line. Its call football . Get your team one and maybe just maybe your runningback might be great one day. THEMBOYS4LIFE

  60. greggfletch1 says: Aug 5, 2014 1:35 AM

    Other teams fans hate what they dont have. He said he wants to be like them, he never said he was. Oh and to defintly say he wont, they also said the world was flat. ANYTHING can happen.

  61. tahnoonzee says: Aug 5, 2014 1:46 AM

    Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson were better. Hell, even Knile Davis might and should steal lots of carries this year.

  62. robage says: Aug 5, 2014 5:41 AM

    More Mouth than actual stats and talent these days. I guess we need a HOF for arrogance.

  63. firedup1 says: Aug 5, 2014 8:01 AM

    I love his game.

  64. nickinneohio says: Aug 5, 2014 8:35 AM

    So did Priest Holmes.

  65. arowchief says: Aug 5, 2014 9:18 AM

    He looked like a hall of famer in Oakland last year! #4th and 48 to go!!!

  66. youpeopleareallthesame says: Aug 5, 2014 9:29 AM

    Lets all be the very best ever!!!!

  67. blogatron2000 says: Aug 5, 2014 9:38 AM

    “If a running back’s only job were breaking long runs, Charles would already be among the NFL’s all-time greats:”
    ——————————
    If you think that all Jamaal can do is break long runs, it’s pretty evident you don’t watch him much. He is a tremendous receiver who can line up in the backfield or split out and he is an incredible blocker.

    “and even in his most productive season he only carried the ball 285 times.”
    ———————————
    So, the Chiefs should rush him until he drops like they did Larry Johnson? Jamaal is just as much a threat receiving as rushing and the Chiefs use him that way so judging his productivity by the number of carries alone is quite misleading.

  68. JackedUpSports says: Aug 5, 2014 9:58 AM

    he’s allowed to dream

  69. gbatap says: Aug 5, 2014 10:36 AM

    Have to love all the judging around here. God forbid the guy aspires to be great. Charles is easily one of the most humble players in the league, he was asked a we question and of course his answer was twisted and taken out of context because that’s what the media does so they can get their hits.

  70. cueghost says: Aug 5, 2014 10:49 AM

    He should not aspire to be anything like Barry “I refuse to hit a hole” Sanders… Sanders absolutely CRIPPLED the Lions offense because they could never trust him. Lose 6 yards gain 4. Lose 8 and punt.

    Emmitt was the man, though. That’s a good role model.

  71. crindal3000 says: Aug 5, 2014 10:50 AM

    the guy has high goals, good for him

  72. guachosporlife says: Aug 5, 2014 4:27 PM

    Barry Sanders minus 1 yard versus the Pack in the playoffs. Emmitt Smith 3 SB Championships…need I say more?

  73. simonator917 says: Aug 5, 2014 9:56 PM

    How do you decide who is the greatest back of all time? . . .
    ==========
    I’m not knocking Emmett, I loved his game, and the way he took out blitzing linebackers was second to none. But there a couple of relative statistics for running backs and they are telling. To date, the ONLY running back to average 100 yards per game is Jim Brown; and, the ONLY running back to average five yards per carry is Jim Brown.

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