Kansas City Chiefs: Can Jamaal Charles Be the Franchise's Rushing Leader?

Farzin VousoughianContributor IIIJune 14, 2013

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 18:  Running back Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs rushes past defensive back Adam Jones #24 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half on November 18, 2012 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  Cincinnati defeated Kansas City 28-6.  (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Ever since Jamaal Charles became the primary running back for the Kansas City Chiefs midway through the 2009 season, he's turned into one of the most explosive offensive players in the NFL. With the help of his offensive line, he uses his breakaway speed to blaze through opposing defenses, which has earned him two Pro Bowl appearances.

Charles has already made a big mark as a running back. Despite missing the majority of the 2011 season due to injury, he placed in the top five in rushing yards in 2010 and 2012. His performance in 2010 saw him named the FedEx Ground Player of the Year.

In the 2009 regular season finale against the Denver Broncos, Charles eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark, after starting in only 10 games. He also became the first running back in NFL history to rush for 1,100 or more yards off of 200 or fewer carries.

In the same game against the Broncos, Charles rushed for 259 yards, the most by any running back in a game in franchise history.

Before the 2012 season kicked off, Charles was ninth in franchise history for most career rushing yards. In the midst of a two-win season, Charles rushed for 1,509 yards, passing five running backs, and is now fourth in franchise history.

  1. Priest Holmes: 6,070 yards from 2001 - 2007
  2. Larry Johnson: 6,015 yards from 2003 - 2009
  3. Christian Okoye: 4,897 yards from 1987 - 1992
  4. Jamaal Charles: 4,536 yards from 2008 - 2012
  5. Ed Podolak: 4,451 yards from 1970 - 1977
  6. Abner Haynes: 3,814 yards from 1960 - 1964
  7. Marcus Allen: 3,698 yards from 1993 - 1997
  8. Mike Garrett: 3,246 yards from 1966 - 1970
  9. Curtis McClinton: 3,124 yards from 1962 - 1968

This includes Charles' 2011 season total of 83 yards, which was compiled in one game, plus two carries in the second game before suffering a knee injury.

Had Charles not been hurt that year, he could have either passed Priest Holmes for the top spot or come close by now.

With Andy Reid, a man known for running a pass-heavy offense, coming in as the new head coach of the Chiefs, it is a tough call as to whether or not Charles can pull off back-to-back 1,500-yard seasons. He needs exactly 1,535 to pass Holmes.

Even under Reid, fans can expect Charles to surpass the 1,000-yard mark this season, which will put him ahead of Christian Okoye. By the time the 2013 season is over, Charles may need around 500 yards in the following season in order to become the top rusher in Chiefs history.

For an exact time frame of when fans can expect a new franchise leader in rushing, Charles should pass Holmes at the halfway point of the 2014 season.

Of course, this is all contingent on Charles' ability to stay healthy and continue to play at his typical pace. Reid's offense was also taken into consideration. Charles took 230 carries in 2010 and 285 last year. Under a new offense, Charles may not see as many touches on the ground since he will be active through the air.

In the end, Charles, who is 26 and signed a contract through 2015, has plenty of time to pass Holmes and earn a prestigious spot in the franchise's record books.