From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis
It came on the first play of the third quarter for the Chiefs. They ran a sweep left and Thomas Jones got just a step outside and picked up four yards.
In a game where there were 42 running plays, it was a rather non-descript effort. But it was four yards that put Jones even deeper into the NFL record books.
That run pushed Jones over the 10,000-yard mark for his career. He became the 25th runner to gain that much yardage doing it in 11 seasons and 162 games.
Jones joined a remarkable club of backs with names like Payton, Sanders, Brown, Dickerson, Faulk, Allen, Simpson and on and on. A lot of men have carried the football over the lengthy history of the NFL. Right now, only 25 have done it to the tune of 10,000 yards or more.
Jones joined them on Sunday against the St. Louis Rams, finishing the afternoon with 62 yards on 22 carries.
“That’s amazing for me, especially where I started in Arizona where I had a tough start,” Jones said. “It just says a lot about my family, my support system, my belief in God, never giving up on my abilities. It’s definitely something that you can look back on when your career is over and be proud of.”
He’s been chasing that 10,000-yard mark for several weeks now, but the yardage has come slowly in recent games for Jones. In the last five weeks his rushing totals have ranged from 71 yards against Arizona and 68 yards against Denver at Arrowhead, to three yards in Denver and just one yard last Sunday in San Diego.
Since his 100-yard game against the Texans in Houston, he’s been productive at home (341 yards in four games) and not so productive on the road (104 yards in four games.) Sunday in St. Louis, it looked like another one of those games. At the end of the first quarter, he had minus-one yards on three carries. At half-time, he had 15 yards on seven carries.
But when they needed to grind the clock in the second half, Charles got moving, carrying the ball 15 times for 47 yards, including a 16-yard run. He also caught a 16-yard pass to helped set up one of the Chiefs touchdowns.
At the end of 14 games, he now has 828 yards on 212 carries. He needs 172 yards in the last two games, or 86 yards per game to reach his sixth straight 1,000-yard season.
“That’s not something that’s really on my mind right now,” Jones said. “Right now, it’s about us bouncing back and winning this game. Now we get to go home and play and we’ve got to do the same things next week that we did this week to get ready.
Jones says he’s found a home in Kansas City. In a story that ran in the New York Times over the weekend, he was quoted as saying “people here love football. They care about each other. They work hard. This is the kind of place where I’m supposed to be.”
When asked about his feelings after the game, Jones made it plain that he has found a place where he’s wanted and where people understand and thrive off his personality.
“It’s just the environment, the atmosphere,” Jones said. “I think the kind of player I am this is the perfect place for me to be. We have a lot of younger players that I can lead by example. Not just verbally or being a vocal guy. There are a lot of young guys on this team that want to be great players and it puts me in a position where the things I normally do, like watching extra film, get in the weight room, get in the cold tub, the hot tub all those extra things I do to be the best on Sunday, there are a lot of guys that are following my example and it makes me happy to see that. It makes a difference.”