It seems that every time Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles explodes for one of those huge days running with the football the name that comes up most often to match his exploits is Hall of Famer Jim Brown, considered by many the greatest player in NFL history.
Old-school types would consider it heresy to use Charles name in the same sentence with Brown. Over the years there have been many running backs that physically reminded people of Brown. Other comparisons were made with Brown and his production on the field.
Jamaal Charles is not Jim Brown. Physically, there's no comparison; Brown was much bigger in his heyday, standing 6-foot-2 and weighing in at 232 pounds. Charles would have to stand up on his tiptoes to reach 6-feet and he's less than 200 pounds.
Despite that obvious difference, some of the things that Charles is doing on the field for the Chiefs have not been done before by other backs. The name that keeps coming up in the statistical comparisons is Brown.
"They had completely different styles," said Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel, who followed Brown's exploits as a young man and then got to know him when Crennel was head coach of the Browns. "Jim Brown was a special kind of guy. I think Jamaal has some special qualities about him, but Jim Brown ? he's one of a kind."
Charles admits that he doesn't really know much about Brown, other than he was one of the greatest players in NFL history, no matter the position.
"He was a great player," Charles said. "I've seen a few tapes. He was big and fast."
And Brown is 50 years older than Charles. He retired for two decades before Charles was born. Football, especially pro football, has changed a great deal from Brown's best days to Charles career.
"When they played a lot more went on, particularly at the bottom of the pile," Crennel said. "Jim would get off the ground and you'd never think he was going to make it back to the huddle, until the ball was snapped and they gave it to him and he took off again."
Sunday's performance in New Orleans saw Charles finish with 233 rushing yards, along with another 55 receiving yards. Within all that action was his 91-yard touchdown run that sparked the entire team and helped push the Chiefs back into a game they eventually won.
Charles joined Brown as the only players in NFL history to have at least 225 rushing yards and 50 receiving yards in the same game. And through 52 games of his NFL career, Charles is averaging 6.02 yards per carry, tops in league history for backs with at least 50 games and a minimum of 500 carries. Brown had a 5.22-yard career average.