Jamaal Charles' season will end early once again.
Charles will miss the rest of the season with a torn right ACL, the Kansas City Chiefs announced Monday. After the game, Chiefs coach Andy Reid said the team feared Charles suffered a torn ACL. The initial diagnosis was confirmed Monday after Charles underwent an MRI. Charles also missed the final 14 games of the 2011 season after tearing his left ACL.
It's a devastating blow for one of the league's best running backs, and the key to the Kansas City offense. Reid called Charles one of the best running backs of all time Monday. While we wouldn't go quite that far, he's certainly one of the best runners of his generation and could one day be a candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Charles was off to his usual start despite the struggles of the Chiefs' offense around him. He ranks fifth in the NFL in yards from scrimmage after five weeks with 541 yards, and still ranks first among running backs in NFL history with 5.5 yards per carry. The Chiefs will turn to Knile Davis and Charcandrick West to replace Charles, but Reid noted there is no replacing Charles' talent. This is especially true for an offense that relies heavily on screen passes and throws to running backs.
The pressure is on Alex Smith now more than ever, even if he's not leaving Kansas City anytime soon. The Chiefs' defense, which has not lived up to expectations, also needs to pick up the slack for the 1-4 team.
A torn ACL used to be a career-crusher for a running back, but Charles is proof that's no longer the case. He's averaged nearly 1,700 yards from scrimmage since he returned from his 2011 injury. He will turn 30 years old late next season, but there's no reason to think his future will be anywhere but in Kansas City. He's due $5.75 million in salary and bonuses next season.