CULVER CITY, Calif. -- First impression of Jamaal Charles? Sharp dresser.
The Kansas City Chiefs running back showed up to NFL Network on Thursday in salmon pants and a glowing pink bowtie. Also glowing: His review of new Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, who Charles called a Super Bowl-caliber passer.
"I think he is. He's got a great arm," Charles told Around The League. "He's been winning most all of his career. I think he wants to prove people wrong: That he is a good quarterback, that he can stay consistent."
We all know the narrative by now. The 49ers brain trust decided last season that hyper-versatile Colin Kaepernick gave San Francisco a better chance to win than Smith. Despite an outrageous 70.2 completion percentage, Smith was benched and then lost in the fanfare of Kaepernick's rise.
"It probably hurt him," Charles said, "because he probably felt like everybody forgot about him because of the Kaepernick situation and being a backup. Making it to the Super Bowl but not playing in the Super Bowl. Everybody wants to play in the Super Bowl. So, I think he's got a lot to prove and he's a Super Bowl quarterback ... with the passion to go out and prove people wrong."
Charles told me it's a feeling he can relate to. Before roaring back last season from a torn anterior cruciate ligament to rush for 1,509 yards, Charles spent the 2011 campaign on the shelf after tearing up his knee. Watching the game from a distance is a lonely world, and Jamaal can relate to the thousand-yard stare we saw from Smith at the conclusion of last season.
"I mean, he don't want to talk about it, but it bothered him, like it bothered me when I got hurt," Charles said. "I felt like everybody forgot about me, so I know, on the inside, he felt like everybody forgot about him."
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.