ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles made his training camp debut Tuesday, though trainer Rick Burkholder downplayed his arrival by calling it simply “part of the process.”
Charles had been on the physically-unable-to-perform list the first three weeks of camp, spending his time going through rehab with the Chiefs’ training staff. Charles underwent surgery last season to repair the ACL in his right knee, which he tore in Week 5 against the Chicago Bears.
“This was the next step in the fine-tuning process,” Burkholder said. “We’ll tweak his rehab so that he gets closer to playing. It’s an absolute day-to-day process. We’ll evaluate every day.”
Charles only did stretching and light drills with the running backs before returning to the locker room area, but Burkholder said that things went according to plan.
“The next couple of days he may do exactly what he did today, but we’ll keep feeding him more of practice until we can get him back into where he’s ready to play in the game,” Burkholder said. “We have to take him off PUP to allow (running backs coach) Eric Bieniemy and Coach (Andy) Reid to evaluate him.”
Charles missed the Chiefs’ preseason opener Saturday against the Seattle Seahawks, and it appears unlikely that he will play against the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday. But the four-time Pro Bowl running back hardly needs the preseason work and the priority is getting Charles ready for games that count.
The Chiefs opener the regular season against San Diego on Sept. 11.
Reid did not speak to reporters Tuesday, but special teams coach Dave Toub said “everybody was excited to see (Charles) was out here.”
“It’s just good to see 25 out on the field,” he said. “It lifts everybody’s spirits.”
The Chiefs did well without Charles last season, ripping off 11 straight wins — including their first playoff win in more than two decades — behind the one-two punch of Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware.
In fact, the Chiefs thought so much of West and Ware that they signed them to long-term contracts in the offseason, envisioning a three-headed monster when Charles is added to the equation.
Each of them has a unique skillset. Charles is an all-around back with the best hands of the bunch, West is a small, shifty runner and Ware provides a physical, bruising complement to both of them.
As for getting Charles back in the mix, Burkholder said: “He did fine in my mind. What we saw today was what we expected … and tomorrow is another day.”