KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The comments from running back Jamaal Charles upon joining the Denver Broncos rankled some Chiefs fans, but the former Kansas City back says his departure from Kansas City was hard on him as well.
Charles told host Cal Jones on the “Unmatched Sports” podcast the team never discussed a pay cut to stay with the organization.
“I thought maybe they’d give me a grace period. I haven’t performed the last two years,” Charles said. “At same time I know that it was about business. I think it would have been cool if they came and told me a pay cut. I think I would have took that pay cut, because I think I owed that to them for allowing me to be on the team.”
Charles admits disappointment that he felt no choice in his his Chiefs career coming to an end. He says he holds no ill will toward the only home he’s known in the NFL.
“It wasn’t personal for me because I did a lot for the city and I’ve been here nine years,” Charles said. “It’s not personal to me, I have nothing personal. I feel like it was more personal to the Chiefs than it was to me. But them letting me go, I love this community. I did a lot sweat, bleed and two ACLs, meniscus, I laid all that out here in Kansas City, so my heart will always be out here in Kansas City.”
When the Chiefs announced they were cutting ties and releasing the veteran after nine seasons with the team, Charles said he initially felt liberated.
“I felt like I was free,” Charles said.
Then reality kicked in. The realization hit that without a team, the burden preparing himself for a comeback on the field as well as staying healthy for the the remainder of his life rested on his shoulders alone without an organization behind him.
“It was just weird,” Charles said. “Like you said, everything was laid out for me. Now I’ve got to do everything on my own.”
Charles caused consternation among Chiefs fans upon signing with the Broncos.
“I always wanted to play with Denver,” Charles said earlier this week. “Growing up, John Elway was my favorite player,”
Some Chiefs fans took that as a slight, but Charles said he never yearned to be a Bronco while in Kansas City.
“Why would I want to be a Bronco when I’m killing them, I’m destroying their defense while I’m playing them,” Charles said. “It was never while I was playing for the Chiefs that I wanted to be a Bronco.”
Kansas City is in the rear view mirror for now, but says he will remember Kansas City fondly.
“I’m excited for the next chapter for me,” Charles said. “I had no choice. It’s not like I asked for a trade. They let me go. At the end of the day, I will always love the Hunt family and the organization.
“I’ll miss them forever,” Charles added.