KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs released running back Jamaal Charles, parting ways with the franchise’s all-time leading rusher.
General manager John Dorsey said in a statement the decision to release Charles was difficult but necessary.
These decisions are never easy, but we felt it was in the best interests of the club to move on at this time,” Dorsey said.
The move frees up nearly $6.2 million in cap space for the Chiefs. That financial move could prove valuable in the wake of the team signing free agent Eric Berry to the richest contract in league history for a safety.
Coach Andy Reid praised Charles for his work ethic and contributions to the franchise.
“I’ve been privileged to work with a lot of talented players over the years, and Jamaal Charles ranks up there with the great ones,” Reid said. “I appreciate the way he came to work every day, he gave us everything he had day-in and day-out. I’ve said it before, I think he’s a future Hall of Famer.”
Charles rushed for 7,260 yards in nine seasons for the Chiefs. The multipurpose running back also added 2,457 yards on 285 receptions. His 5.5 yards per carry rank second all-time in NFL history for a running back.
Indeed, Charles established himself as a fan favorite following his selection in the third round of the 2008 NFL draft. He shared time in the backfield as a rookie with Larry Johnson before reeling off back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons in 2009 and 2010.
Charles suffered a season-ending knee injury in the second game of the 2011 season, but rebounded with the first of three-straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons in 2012. In 2013 Charles lead the league with 12 rushing touchdowns and 19 total touchdowns while compiling 1,980 yards from scrimmage.
But the last year and a half proved a challenge for the veteran running back. He sustained a season-ending knee injury in October 2015, and setbacks during his recovery limited to just 12 rushes for 40 yards in his final season for the Chiefs.
The Chiefs and Charles differed on the running back’s health during much of the 2016 season. The team placed Charles on injured reserve after a brief comeback. The Chiefs declined to activate Charles for the postseason despite his claims he was ready to return to the lineup.
Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt issued a statement thanking Charles for his contributions to the team, hinting the team stands ready to add his name to the team’s hall of fame when he retires from the game.
“Jamaal has been one of the most prolific players in our organization’s history, and I have an enormous amount of respect for what he has accomplished,” Hunt said. “He’ll always be a part of the Chiefs family, and we’ll be ready to honor him for his outstanding playing career when the time is right.”