KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The contract extensions for running backs Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware provide stability in the Chiefs’ backfield.
But the extensions also point to a crowded backfield with West, Ware and the anticipated return of Jamaal Charles from an ACL injury.
Good thing West and Ware aren’t big on individual statistics despite their respective accomplishments the past season.
“There are always enough footballs to go around,” said West, whose 634 yards rushing on 160 carries led the Chiefs in 2015. “With a room like we have and a team like we have, there’s no ‘I’ in team, for real, and we look at it that way. That’s what we live by and that’s what we are going to go by. And that’s what makes the Chiefs a great team.”
Ware echoed his backfield teammate.
“That’s one thing with the running back room for the Kansas City Chiefs — we’re not real selfish,” said Ware, who gained 403 yards rushing and six touchdowns on 72 carries in 2015. “We’re a team, we want to do the best for the team and that’s all that matters.”
The two running backs taking a humble approach and placing the team before personal goals shouldn’t come as a surprise given their respective paths to the contract extensions.
The 5-10, 205-pound West joined the Chiefs in 2014 as an undrafted free agent out of Abilene Christian. He spent part of his rookie season on the practice squad before being elevated to the active 53-man roster late in the season.
The Chiefs believed in West and gave him a chance when Charles went down in Week 6 of the 2015 campaign. West finished the season appearing in 15 games with nine starts.
“I want to thank everybody that’s been on this crazy ride and believed in me,” West said, “and stuck with me the last 16 months and knew what I was capable of doing.”
The 5-10, 229-pound Ware entered the league in 2013 out of LSU as a sixth-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks before being waived in August 2014.
Ware’s uncertain ride continued after he signed a reserve/future contract with the Chiefs on Dec. 30, 2014. He participated in organized team activities (OTAs), minicamp, training camp and all preseason games before being waived on Sept. 5, and then signed to the practice squad on Sept. 6.
The Chiefs elevated Ware to the active 53-man roster following Charles’ injury, and he excelled the rest of the way, leading the Chiefs in rushing touchdowns while averaging 5.6 yards per carry.
Ware’s new contract ensures he has stability and the hard work of the past year offers a sense of vindication.
“It just lets me know that the things I’ve been doing and the changes in my life have been for the good,” Ware said. “I’m starting to see the results from that.”
Given Ware’s and West’s mentality, the Chiefs don’t have to worry about three running backs being a crowd when Charles returns.
The Chiefs have a deep backfield, and West and Ware are prepared to do whatever is required for the benefit of the team.
“I feel like my role is going to be similar to last year,” Ware said. “I’m going to go out there and they’re going to put me in situations and I’m just going to do my best to try to help the team the best way I can.”
“Man, I’m just happy to be here first of all,” West said. “I want to give thanks to (Chiefs chairman and CEO) Clark Hunt, Coach (Andy) Reid, the Chiefs organization first off for having me here, and then I’m just going to go out and do whatever the coaches ask me to do. We’ll see how that plays out. I’m just happy to be with my guys here.”