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Charles appeared in 14 games for the Denver Broncos in 2017, rushing for 296 yards and a touchdown on 69 carries. To some extent, simply staying healthy for most of the year was a big achievement for Charles after he made eight combined appearances between 2015 and 2016.
Charles is a shell of his former self, though, as evidenced by his production in Denver. He also suffered a season-ending torn ACL in October 2015 and underwent a second surgery on his knee in November 2016 as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Because of how much injuries derailed his career, it’s easy to forget how great Charles was in his prime. From 2009 to 2014, he averaged 5.5 yards per carry and had 8,493 yards from scrimmage, according to Pro Football Reference.
Charles’ days of helping an NFL team—albeit in a limited role—may not be over, though. At 31, he’s on the wrong end of the aging curve but not so old he’s completely past it. Not to mention, averaging 4.3 yards per carry isn’t bad for a team’s second or third option on the ground.
If things work out, then he can provide the Jaguars with some experience and depth in the backfield, both as a runner and a receiver. He also adds injury insurance since Leonard Fournette will miss Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys with a hamstring injury, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Fournette has played just two games this season as he deals with hamstring problems. Considering Jacksonville frequently wins games with a strong defense and rushing attack, it needs productivity in the backfield from Charles or whoever else is lined up alongside quarterback Blake Bortles.
It’s probably not a stretch to say this will be Charles’ last shot in the NFL. Despite all he has accomplished, teams aren’t all that eager to sign running backs on the wrong side of 30 with a lengthy history of knee injuries.
Perhaps that will provide Charles with even more motivation to find success with the Jags.