As unlikely as it sounds, the Chiefs' 2015 season didn't get on track until Jamaal Charles went down with a torn ACL in early October.
With the emergence of Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West in Kansas City's backfield, it's natural to wonder if the 29-year-old Charles might be a luxury the Chiefs can't afford going forward.
General manager John Dorsey made it clear Thursday that won't be the case.
"As I look at it right now, I think he may be ahead of schedule in terms of his rehabilitation," Dorsey said, via the team's official website. "The guy is an extremely talented player, love him to death, love how dirty tough he is. He's a Chief."
Charles is due a reasonable sum of $6 million in salary and bonuses in 2016.
The Chiefs' all-time rushing leader turned 29 in December. Studies have shown that running-back production decreases by 15 percent at age 28, 25 percent at age 29 and 40 percent by the age-30 wall.
On the other hand, Charles has proven to be an exceptional talent, trailing only Hall of Famer Marion Motley (5.7) with a gaudy career per-carry average of 5.5 yards.
"Football is changing, sports are just changing," the four-time Pro Bowler said last offseason. "You can see basketball, like Kobe Bryant, he is still playing at 36. You see Tim Duncan."
Even with a second knee reconstruction, Charles obviously has high expectations for his twilight years in Kansas City.