Adrian Peterson got all the attention over the offseason, but Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles also was recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. After Sunday's performance, Charles finally knows he's back.
"I didn't trust myself (until Sunday). "It really hit me when I started getting the runs. I started trusting myself," Charles said, via the Kansas City Star. "I kind of feel like the old me, especially breaking that long run and finishing it. It's motivating me more that I still have my speed and I still can run the long ones."
Charles led the Chiefs offense back from a 24-6 hole against New Orleans for a dramatic overtime win. The Chiefs' season would have basically been done at 0-3. Instead, they have a chance to get into a tie for first place next week against the San Diego Chargers.
On a crazy day of finishes, Charles' performance should not be overlooked. He rushed for 233 yards. He had 288 yards from scrimmage. He had 39 touches, fully carrying the load after Peyton Hillis hurt his ankle in the third quarter.
Charles' 91-yard touchdown and 40-yard run will get the highlights, but we remember another play. Charles caught a swing pass on third-and-eight in overtime. It was well covered, with three Saints defenders essentially guarding the first-down line. Charles did a head fake and a quick cut inside between the defenders to reach for the first down. That is not the type of cut you expect to see after a torn ACL.
"I kind of feel like the old me, especially breaking that long run and finishing it," Charles said. "It's motivating me more that I still have my speed and I still can run the long ones."
Charles is one of the most electric players in the NFL. He's officially back.
Now, Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel just has to make sure they don't get Charles hurt again. 33 carries and 39 touches is not something that should happen again this year.
Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.