Ask anybody who the NFL comeback player of the year is, and they will give you one of two answers: Peyton Manning or Adrian Peterson. Manning missed the entire 2011 NFL season due to a fourth neck surgery. Peterson on the hand, underwent offseason leg surgery because of a torn ACL and MCL suffered late last season against the Washington Redskins.
But there’s another comeback hero – Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles. Not much was expected from Charles after he tore his ACL when he was pushed out of bounds by a Detroit Lions defender in just the second game of the 2011 season. Charles would not return in 2011 as the Chiefs put him on injured reserve.
Charles had an incredible 2012 season as he rushed for a career-high 1,509 yards, the most in the AFC. Charles has averaged more than five yards per carry every season he has played and ranks first all time in yards per carry average for a running back. This season, Charles had remarkable performances that included a 226 and a 233 yard game. Charles also put up the second longest run from scrimmage this in 2012 with a 91-yarder against the New Orleans Saints, the longest run in Chiefs franchise history.
Dont get me wrong, what Peterson did was fantastic as well and he deserves credit. However I think just as much credit should go to the Minnesota Vikings‘ offensive line. Many of Peterson’s runs he goes untouched because of the superb blocking. Even quarterback Christian Ponder showed signs of improvement this season, thus opening up the field. Defenses couldn’t just stack the box against Peterson because Ponder to Percy Harvin became a real deep passing threat.
Manning had a great year as well, but he has comeback from neck surgery before. And he did take over a team that won a playoff game the previous year led by quarterback Tim Tebow. It was rumored that Manning wanted to play in 2011 but the Indianapolis Colts said no. And rightfully so, considering they were eliminated from the playoffs anyway.
I’m not saying Peterson or Manning don’t deserve comeback player of the year, because they do. But Charles outrushed the likes of Arian Foster, Frank Gore and Chris Johnson. All three players have showed great resilience and confidence and should be considered for the award. All I’m saying is Jamaal Charles should get a lot more consideration for comeback player of the year than he is currently getting.
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