Jamaal Charles always wanted to be a Bronco, and now he is. He just isn't going to be participating as a Bronco until late July.
That's according to NFL Network's James Palmer, who reported Tuesday that the running back aims to be ready in time for training camp.
Coming off November surgery on both of his knees, Charles continues to rehab in preparation for the 2017 season. He expressed confidence in the process and his status heading forward when he signed with the Broncos in early May, though this is the first we're hearing of a tangible timetable.
Charles made a push to play last season but pulled the plug in November in favor of surgery, the latest in a series of setbacks that have kept the formerly explosive running back sidelined. When he was healthy and 27 or younger, Charles was among the league's best backs, armed with top-end speed to win almost every race down the sideline. His highly publicized yards-per-carry dominance stands as proof that he gained them in chunks when at his peak.
What Denver is getting in Charles is largely unknown; he's 30 years old and hasn't put together even half of a season's worth of work in the last two campaigns. New offensive coordinator Mike McCoy wants to use Charles as a dual threat, catching passes out of the backfield and attacking inside the tackles on the ground. He stands as the lone exciting complement to C.J. Anderson, who is also looking to bounce back after a disappointing 2016 campaign tat saw him gain 437 yards and score four touchdowns in just seven games. Devontae Booker's paltry 3.5 yards per carry during his rookie campaign isn't getting many in Denver antsy for the season.
New medical information on Charles typically isn't a welcome sight at this point, but the optimist's takeaway is this: At least he'll have had eight months to rehab and prepare for full contact come camp. From there, it's anyone's guess how he'll fare.