Many of the NFL’s most recognizable players missed a significant portion, or all, of the 2011 season due to injury or from taking time away from football.
The voters will have their hands full with no shortage of names to choose from once the 2012 season kicks off. Peyton Manning, Mario Williams, Adrian Peterson, and even Randy Moss and Terrell Owens are some of the headliners for the Comeback Player of the Year Award (CBPOY).
The Kansas City Chiefs will also feature a handful of candidates, as they fell victim to injuries, possibly more so than any other team in the NFL, as it relates to key players on the roster.
Safety Eric Berry, running back Jamaal Charles and tight end Tony Moeaki have earned the nickname “The ACL Crew” around Kansas City. All three players were sidelined prior to Week 3 with ACL tears, but are on pace to make full recoveries and are scheduled to play in the preseason opener tomorrow night against the Arizona Cardinals at Arrowhead Stadium.
When comparing the potential CBPOY candidates, one should factor in the type of injury, amount of time missed (from injury or non-football related reasons) and the impact one has on their particular team. With that said, the Chiefs have two legitimate candidates: Berry and Charles.
Cassel didn’t miss enough time compared to the other players vying for the award, and Moeaki, although important to the Chiefs’ agenda, won’t make enough of an impact to be noticed among the others.
However, Berry and Charles fit the mold quite well. They both missed close to the entire season with severe injuries and will be key components to what the Chiefs intend to do this season.
Kansas City has high hopes for its 2012 season, and both Berry and Charles are expected to be major factors in achieving the team’s goals of recapturing the AFC West title and making a deep run in the postseason.
While the Chiefs are in a position to better absorb injuries this season after general manager Scott Pioli put together one of the best offseasons in recent memory, no single player can replace the production of either Berry or Charles on this team.
With Berry on a mission to return to form and Charles apparently regaining his mojo, the Chiefs are in position to end their playoff victory drought (0-7 over the 18 seasons). And as long as both stay healthy, they could push each other towards being named the 2012 NFL Comeback Player of the Year.