I’m so proud of the way our team has come together over the last several weeks. To reel off 10 straight wins and reach the playoffs after where we began the season is pretty incredible.

Nobody wants to start 1-5, but it’s impressive to get from there to where they are today. That tells you a lot about our team. We definitely could have started off the season playing the way they are now, but it didn’t work out that way. When it didn’t, they could have quit. But they didn’t.

They found a way to get things turned around. I’m excited for the guys that they’ve been able to do what they’re doing, and happy that they’re headed to the playoffs. There are a lot of people in that locker room that love Chiefs football. They found some leadership and some people who have been able to get them back on the winning track.

It’s hard to keep a good relationship with everybody in the NFL, but once you come on this team, you become my family. The people I know in our locker room are family to me. So it’s great to see them having the success they are.

I can’t say enough about the makeup of our team. That starts with the head coach on down to the players. Coach Reid is doing a great job of helping the team win. He is a great offensive mind, and he wants everybody to be successful. Our quarterback, Alex Smith, has been a winner throughout his life. He knows how to win and he knows how to push the team. He’s also got a lot of great people around him to help him and the team succeed.

Our running backs have been incredible stepping up in my absence. For those guys, especially Charcandrick West, to be able to be the “next man up” and take advantage of that opportunity is great to see. To step in after I went down, and help the team the way they have—that’s just amazing.

C West is a gifted runner. He’s small and he’s able to make people miss. It’s hard to tackle him because of his size, and because of the cuts he can make. And because he’s small, he’ll surprise you with his power. He’s stronger than people think. His ability and the moves he makes, it almost reminds me of another Jamaal being out there.

Charcandrick really took the reins when I got hurt and ran with it. That first week showed you a glimpse of how good he can be. But to do that week in and week out, on this level, consistently, that tells you what type of running back he is. That’s what everybody wants. If you’re going to do something this week, show me you’re going to do it the next week, too. It’s all about playing consistently and helping the team.

That’s all that people around the league are looking for. Some guys can have a big week, and then defenses adjust to them and they fade away. But when people see you being successful every week, they definitely can see you have a bright future in the NFL. He’s stepped up as a player and as a leader.

I got to know Charcandrick very well last year, and into training camp this year. As a running back group, we are all very close. But he and I are kind of kindred spirits as well. We have very similar personalities, and came from the same type of background growing up. He’s from a small town in Louisiana. I’m from a small town in Texas, not far from Louisiana. He’s got a lot of energy, likes to dance and everything. That’s something I like to do. He smiles every day and that’s what I do. He’s just a great person. He definitely cares about other people. He would take his shirt off his back to give to you if you didn’t have one. That’s the type of person he is.

[Stay warm this winter with gear from my official store!]

I’m also really happy for Spencer Ware. For him to come in when Charcandrick went down several weeks back, that’s a great opportunity to take advantage of. When you get that opportunity to show people that you can play football, show them! He did that.

He’s young and he’s hungry. You can tell certain things with a young running back out there, and with him, there’s a hunger because he’s been on the practice squad. Now he’s worked all the way up to the top, and he can do anything right now because he’s hungry. When you get people like that, hungry and ready to play, they’ll do anything just to make it look good on Sunday. He’s a talented guy. He’s an athletic guy. He was a five-star player in high school, number one athlete of his class, so he’s definitely got skill. He’s shown he can play at a high level.

It gives me a sense of pride to see those guys doing well. I try to be a good role model to anybody that comes through that running back room, and to our team, really. From there, it’s on them to take advantage of the opportunity. That’s definitely a great look for the organization. It’s not me; it’s the people that put in work with them as well, like the coaches, the position coaches, the head coach, and the offensive coordinator. I mean, I only can do so much, but those guys help them a lot. They deserve a lot of credit for helping those guys develop.

PLAYING LIKE FAMILY

As good as those guys on our offense have been, I have to give a lot of love to our defense for the way they’ve been playing. They got off to a tough start, but they’ve really picked it up and given the team something to rally behind on this winning streak.

It’s definitely a different look for them right now, getting to the ball and tackling the way they are. They’re getting after the quarterback and stopping the run, and it’s hard to beat somebody when they stop the run and put pressure on the quarterback. The way these guys are playing, they take away every opportunity for an offense.

And it’s not just one guy—it’s everybody pitching in because they’ve had injuries all over the defense, too. But guys have stepped up. Tamba has been playing well, Justin Houston, Derrick Johnson, Jaye Howard, all those guys up front. Then on the back end you have Ron Parker, the young kid Marcus Peters, Sean Smith—all those guys are playing and competing like the players that we knew that they could be. And what can you say about Eric Berry?

I could see in his eyes before the season how hungry he had been to just get another chance. To be able to come back from cancer the way he has, he earned my Comeback Player of the Year from the beginning. But it’s just something incredible to come back from cancer, and to play the way he has. He’s one of the best players in the league right now. I told him, “Man, you’ve been playing so amazing.” I’m so happy for him.

The defense is playing together, like they’re out there having fun. That’s what it’s all about. The whole team, from the special teams, offense, defense, it looks like they’re having a good time. We had that when we played Week 1 against Houston, and they found it again. It’s great to see.

I’m very excited for the team and for the organization here in Kansas City. I knew all along that the team they put together was not a bad team. The team they put together is a team that can win, and we easily could have been playing like they are now when I was healthy. I’m glad they figured it out. We have an outstanding team. I’m happy for all of them because I knew what they were capable of doing. And if they keep it up the way they’re playing right now, they can make a deep playoff run.

In the NFL, if you win games in November and December, you definitely have a chance to win in January. They won in November, and December. Now they just need to finish.

I think they can, and I’ll be rooting them on.

ONE MORE SHOT

As happy as I am for my team, it’s been a tough year for me individually.

The play that ended my season: I replay it in my mind often.

In those days after something like that happens, you sit down and think about a lot of things—what I could have been, where I could have been. It’s humbling. You also think about the event itself.

I remember trying to make a serious cut. It was a cut I make all the time, just a foot in the ground, a hard cut. I cut on my right leg all the time; I’m right-handed. This one felt like it was a powerful cut I was about to make, the type that makes a guy miss. We were in the red zone, so I thought it might have been a scoring cut.

Then I felt that little pop, and the next thing you know, I was on the ground.

It just happens, I guess. Sometimes strange things happen. But everything happens for a reason. I felt like this happened for a reason. This must be part of the plan. I still believe in that.

When the injury occurred, it didn’t feel as bad as it actually was. I felt that little pop in my knee, but I honestly thought it was something minor, that maybe it was just a little pain that I could come back from. Initially, I thought I might even be able to go back in that game.

When I got to the sidelines and learned that wouldn’t be the case, it was a heartbreaking feeling. We were playing at home. All my family was there with me. That made it worse because I knew they were all up there worrying about me, and wondering, “What’s wrong with Jamaal?” I got helped to the locker room on people’s shoulders because I didn’t want to take a cart. I sat in the locker room watching the game, icing my knee.

We wound up losing that game, a game we should have won. It was our fourth straight loss. That was tough to swallow.

As they examined me, I tried to stay positive. I told myself it was probably just a sprain or something that would maybe keep me out for a game or two at the most.

I’d been through something similar before with my left knee a few years ago, but I didn’t know when that happened that it was my ACL. I didn’t know this time, either. People try to predict. They sit there and say, “That’s an ACL.” But I’m not a doctor. I don’t know how badly I’m injured until they tell me. They’ve got all kinds of technology to tell you what’s wrong with your body now, so I just wait for the results. So I went to the doctor the day after the game to see what was wrong with my knee—if it was the MCL, ACL, just really to find out what was wrong with it.

They did a MRI, and that’s when I found out it was another ACL tear.

That was tough to hear. But I’m happy that I had the opportunity to get it repaired and get back to rehabbing so quickly. Normally, people wait two weeks to get it done, but I had it done within the week. It’s amazing—it’s such a severe injury, but I’ve been on my feet every day since it happened. I was on crutches for about two weeks, but still on my feet and able to move around.

It definitely feels strange to be going through the whole process again. Initially, it was heartbreaking, because you’re thinking, “Oh, I’ve got to do this again. I need to have surgery again and go through rehab again. I have to go through all this pain again.” That’s difficult, especially knowing how challenging it is from the first time, thinking about all the pain I have to go through again. That’s the heartbreaking part.

But there’s no choice. What you have to be able to do is turn that heartbreak and that disappointment into motivation, to push through it, push through the pain, and get back on the field. It’s definitely a hard thing to do. But if you love what you do, you do it without hesitation.

[Gear up for the postseason at my official store!]

This is the type of thing that gives you perspective, and makes it so you don’t take things for granted. A lot of people complain about this and that, how little things are hurting them. But if I had a chance to go out there and play football right now there would be no complaining about anything. When I see guys worrying about little injuries, I think, “I have a torn ACL! I would definitely switch spots with you!” just to be back on the field with my teammates.

I want one more shot. That’s kind of my motivation and where I’m at right now. I want one more chance. That’s all I want. Another opportunity. That’s what’s motivating me, and that’s kind of what I’m setting my mind on right now.

PUSHING THROUGH

As I go through recovery into rehab, I’ve been trying to stay happy and in good spirits. I’m taking these months off from playing football, and the rest is going to give me a chance to be young again. I feel like I’m taking a drink from that fountain of youth, and I truly am excited for what lies ahead. That tells you all you need to know about how well this is going to go.

Now I want the opportunity to run again, the opportunity to play again.

Having gone through this before is definitely beneficial in the rehab element. Since the last injury, I’d actually been doing knee rehab before every game and every week even up to this season. In the offseason, I was still working on my knee regularly. And that injury occurred four years ago. The technology is just totally different now. It’s so much better. I was already moving faster when I came out of surgery this time than I was after I had my first surgery on my left leg. So that was impressive. That showed me how far things have come in four years.

After the surgery, I stayed down in Pensacola under the care of Dr. James Andrews and his staff for three weeks, getting the recovery and rehab process started. The people down there were real good to me. They’ve got a great facility, great people and they did a great job.

Now I do most of my rehab at the team facility. I like spending time at the facility with the team, talking to some of the guys and trying to motivate them. I was up there with all the running backs for our annual Pros vs. Joes event with the Marines. I love being up there with the team.

To be honest, it feels a little strange to have all this free time. The thing I like best about my job is going to work, then coming home to see my family and kids. I’m around my family a lot more now than I usually am this time of year, and I’m enjoying that as best I can. My wife has been great throughout this process, but I think she’s getting tired of babying me. She says I’m like a third child. Early in the process, when I couldn’t walk around too much, she had to do everything for me and for the girls. There wasn’t much I could do to help, so she had a load on her plate. I can get around better now, so I try to help wherever I can. But she knows I’m hurt and sees when I need to take a rest, especially when I take pain pills and medication. She’s always there to help me out. I’m just glad to have a support system like her by my side.

My kids, they’re characters. I love being around them. That right there is where the fun is. Every moment with them is exciting. They’re happy to be around me more right now, too. I’ve got a lot of time to bring them to school now. My four-year-old daughter gets excited to have me come to her classroom. She tries to make them look at my leg and says, “My daddy got a broken leg!”

I say, “Daddy doesn’t have a broken leg. Daddy got his knee repaired, Baby.”

THANK YOU

I would like to take a moment to thank everybody who cares about me and thinks about me for their support: all the fans for their messages; guys who have been through ACL injuries, reaching out to tell me they’re thinking about me and offering help; my family and friends for being there and supporting me. I’m just happy that I have good people in my corner, and thanks to God for putting people in my life who feel I can inspire them.

I owe it to all of those people to come back. All the messages I’ve received—I can’t put into words how helpful they were. I received one not too long ago that said, “Try to do something that most people can’t do.” That’s stuck in my head. I’m trying to do something that most people can’t do, come back from two torn ACLs. And how would I do that? That’s motivation for me.

I’m thankful for all that I have, and I’m just happy to be alive. I thank God for the good days and I thank Him for the bad days as well. Whether I’m up or down, happy or sad, healthy or injured, I’m still happy with Him. All the success He gave me, the abilities He gave me, how could I be mad? I’m blessed.

I’m not happy how the season ended for me, being injured. But everything happens for a reason. I can never understand that reason right now, but I will know what it is later on. I’m just thinking about coming back strong, and having a great season next year. In the meantime, there won’t be anyone rooting harder for the Kansas City Chiefs this postseason than I will. I can’t wait to see those guys take the field in Houston on Saturday. I’d give anything to be out there with them, playing the game I love.

But they’ll have me cheering them on.