Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles said Tuesday that he's ahead of schedule in his recovery from a knee injury that ended his 2011 season after just two games and promised to punish opposing defenses in 2012.
"When I touch that field again, you're going to feel my pain," Charles told the Kansas City Star. "You're going to go through what I went through. It's going to be that way for me the rest of my career."
Charles, the NFL's second leading rusher in 2010, tore the ACL in his left knee last September after taking an awkward step finishing off a run in the first quarter of a Week 2 loss to the Detroit Lions.
He was coming off of a breakout season in which he gained 1,467 yards, second only to the Texans' Arian Foster, and averaged nearly 6½ yards per carry. Charles also caught 45 passes for 468 yards en route to his first Pro Bowl season.
Charles told the newspaper that Chiefs fans shouldn't worry about him not being a factor this season. Kansas City opens the coming season at home on Sept. 9 against the Atlanta Falcons.
"If you're worrying about me not being the same, just look out for me this year," Charles told the Star. "I'm hungry. I want it this year. I've got the passion for it. I just can't wait to play football. I can't wait to bring stuff back to this community and show them how much we can win. I feel like this is a year for us that we can go all the way. I'm saying that because I feel it in me that I can bring a lot to the team this year, being bigger, stronger and maybe even faster."
The Chiefs' first full-squad practice is May 21, for which Charles must be cleared by Dr. James Andrews, his surgeon, before he can participate. But Charles said he feels he's prepared to practice.
"I feel I'm at the point where I can do that," Charles told the newspaper. "I feel I can do the same thing my teammates do. I do it without the coaches around. I catch the ball, I cut, I do a lot of drills and I've been doing this for two months."
Charles said he feels "normal" now and is focusing on building his upper-body strength. He had surgery on the knee in October.
"I feel like I can do everything everybody else can do and I can do it even better," he told the newspaper.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.