Chiefs sound most optimistic yet on Jamaal Charles' possible return

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Andy Reid gave his most optimistic answer yet to the weekly question of whether Jamaal Charles would make his long-awaited return for the Kansas City Chiefs in the upcoming game. The Chiefs play against the Steelers in Pittsburgh on Sunday night.

“He’s getting closer here,’’ Reid said. “I’m probably being overly cautious. There’s a chance he’s out there this week. We’ll see how it goes.’’

That’s far from any kind of promise that Charles would play against the Steelers. But it’s still optimistic compared to Reid’s answer on the question from the previous three Mondays.

From Sept. 19: “I wouldn’t rule it out.’’

From Sept. 12: “I don’t know that.

From Sept. 5: “It would be a stretch for him to play on Sunday.’’

The pattern isn’t difficult to decipher. Reid has been more optimistic with each passing week.

A more definitive answer will come on Wednesday, when the Chiefs begin their practice week in preparation for the Steelers game. Charles has been working mostly with the scout team during the practice week since the start of the regular season, making it obvious he wouldn’t be available the following Sunday. It would be most unusual for the Chiefs to give any player, much less one of Charles’ stature, mostly scout team work during the week and then ask him to be a significant contributor on Sunday.

The Chiefs have their bye the week after the Steelers game, so if caution continues to be the rule with Charles, he won’t return until their Oct. 16 game against the Raiders in Oakland.

Charles hasn't played in a game since tearing the ACL in his right knee in a game last October.