Running back Jamaal Charles couldn't do what he'd done so many times over the years for the Kansas City Chiefs on what was likely his last carry of his season and perhaps the last carry of his career.
He couldn't break free, couldn't use his speed to bust yet another long run. Instead, early in the second quarter two weeks ago against the New Orleans Saints at Arrowhead Stadium, he was trapped by a pair of defenders as he tried to get around right end.
He was tackled for no gain.
If that's the way his time with the Chiefs ends, it's hardly fitting. Charles should have put a move on a defender to make him miss and then use his speed to pull away from the other 10 defensive players to score an 80-yard touchdown, if we're looking for an appropriate finish.
It certainly doesn't look like Charles will be able to have a different conclusion to his Chiefs career, not after being placed on injured reserve Tuesday after experiencing continued soreness in his right knee, the one he had surgically repaired last year after tearing his ACL.
The signs were everywhere this year this wasn't going to end well for Charles. The Chiefs were confident through the offseason Charles would be back at full strength by the start of training camp.
He wasn't. Charles returned toward the end of camp, but for several weeks he did little at practice.
Once his activity picked up, Charles tried to give it a go, but he never looked like the Charles of old. He never regained his full-time featured back role in any of the three games in which he played. cheap jerseys
Charles looked average. His only shining moment came on his 4-yard touchdown run against the Oakland Raiders.
Then the soreness in the knee returned, and after getting the one carry against the Saints, he didn't play at all last week against the Indianapolis Colts.
As far as a next season, that looks unlikely, at least in Kansas City. The Chiefs began preparing for the end of Charles' career earlier this year when they re-signed Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West to contract extensions. The Chiefs will also find Charles expensive next year, when he is scheduled to make $3.75 million in base salary with a roster bonus of $3 million.
Perhaps one of the other 31 teams will have an interest, though that, too, appears unrealistic. Charles turns 30 in December and is coming off knee troubles, making it a real long shot he will ever be the player he was early in his career.
If this is, indeed, the end for Charles, the Chiefs and their fans will have plenty to remember him for. There was the 259-yard game in Denver in 2009 when Charles pulled himself from the game rather than take a shot at the NFL record.
There was the 233-yard game in New Orleans in 2012, in his third game back from his first torn ACL. There was the kickoff return for a touchdown that helped the Chiefs upset the Steelers in 2009. There was the 2013 game in Oakland, in which he had 195 yards and four touchdowns receiving.
Indeed, there are many things for which to remember Charles. The Chiefs and their fans don't have to remember what was likely his last carry and his last season.