Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles is without a doubt one of the most complete running backs in the NFL. Throughout his career so far he has averaged 5.5 yards per carry and has four Pro Bowl appearances under his belt. However, despite the accolades, he is still one of the most underrated players in the league, which makes it fitting that he’s down with PUMA, a brand with many underrated classics.
Charles is a naturally gifted athlete who was an All-American Track and Field sprinter in his college career prior to becoming a football player, he could have easily been out there competing for Olympic gold medals. While his days of running track are gone, Charles still incorporates a lot of track workouts to his regime. His speed is also a reason why PUMA made Charles one of the faces of their brand along with the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, soccer star Mario Balotelli, and golfer Rickie Fowler.
The brand recently showcased their 2015 Summer Collection and it is dope. During a recent photoshoot with PUMA, we had the chance to catch up with Charles and his infinite love for the brand, his workout routine, and some of his inspirations.
*** *** ***
Why do you think PUMA chose you to endorse their brand?
I think they chose me because of my speed. PUMA works with a lot of the fastest athletes in the world and I think my speed is what separates me from other running backs. You can’t coach speed and only so many people in the world have it. I love that PUMA places so much focus on speed and I’m very happy to be a part of their family.
What are your favorite items right now at PUMA that you would recommend?
I would definitely recommend the lifestyle clothes, the sports outfits, and the PUMA Roma. It’s the classic PUMA shoe and has been around since the beginning.
How do you think PUMA is different or stands out from the rest of the brands out there?
PUMA stands out in many different ways. Whether it’s their fresh outfits or their new workout gear, they keep coming up with new ways to stand out from all of their other brands. I love that their products come in so many different styles and colors that make it a great fit for anyone.
What are you most excited for with your future with PUMA?
I’m just excited for the future with PUMA. Hopefully I’ll be able to come up with some new ideas for the brand and continue to be a part of PUMA for life.
What goal do you have for the upcoming season?
Team-wise, we have to be on the same page and build a foundation together in order to win games. At this point, it’s all about becoming comfortable with each other and being better than we were last year. Personally, my goal is to just come in and workout harder than I have before. The only way I can accomplish my goal for this year is to push my teammates, and myself, harder than I have before.
Do you write a list of things you want to accomplish in the offseason? If so, what was some things on the list this year?
I usually don’t like telling people what my goals are, I usually just keep them to myself so I can go on the field and accomplish them. I definitely do have a list though; it’s a way to keep me focused on my goals. One of the things on my list is helping to get my team to a Super Bowl. It’s something I want so bad that it’s always on my list. Another thing is just to be the best teammate and be there for my team. Stats-wise, my goal is to get over 1,000 yards and over five yards a carry.
During the offseason, how do you juggle staying in shape and taking rest without overdoing it either way?
A big thing about the offseason is not overdoing it and keeping your body fresh. It’s all about knowing your body and understanding what you can do and what your body can handle. I’m going into my 8th year in the NFL, so I have to push my body harder and harder every year. I’m not getting any younger!
At one point in your life did you realize you had made it? And how were you able to work past that and keep going hard?
I first realized that I made it when I was running track and made it all the way to Canada. I’m from a small city, so when I made it to Canada and I was running against people from all over the world, it was big for me. Especially when I realized that I was third in the world as a kid.
Explain your style before a game and after. What is essential for pregame warm¬ups and postgame style?
Before the game I try to travel in some light clothes and a collared shirt to look professional. When I was younger, I used to show up looking like I was going out for the night, but I’m a little bit older now so I try to show it in the way I dress. I treat each game like I’m going on a business trip, so I try to look professional and dress the part. Once I get to the locker room, I start to get focused and get my mind right for the game. I put on my clothes and gear and try to dress up just a little bit. Then it’s game time, and I let my play on the field speak for itself.
How has your style changed throughout the years since you entered the NFL?
It’s changed a lot since I came in. I used to wear long-sleeved tees, but now I don’t. I used to wear flashy clothes to the stadium before the game, but now I want to look nicer and set an example for the younger guys. Now that I’m a veteran, I still try to look nice, but also look professional.
What artists are currently in your headphones?
Meek Mill, Rihanna, and Future. Future is hard right now, he’s jamming and still making hits.
When you hit up places like Champs Sports, do people recognize you? Does it ever get crazy?
Oh yeah. Whenever I head into a Champs Sports and people definitely recognize me, it’s still crazy to me. That’s another moment when I realize that I made it and just feel blessed to be where I am today.
Who was your inspiration growing up?
My brother was my inspiration and role model growing up. He was the one who inspired me to push myself. My brother was a superstar in my hometown and I wanted to be just like him. He was the superstar on our high school football team and I wanted that, so when I saw my opportunity, I worked hard to become that.
If you could play one other sport, what would it be and why?
I would definitely run track because that was my first love. If I could play any other sport though, it would probably be tennis.
Tennis? Why is that?
The game is really cool to me. It’s a very fast game and you have to be accurate at the same time. To tell you the truth, I just wish I could play every sport, even soccer.
What’s one piece of advice you could give to young kids that you wish you knew when you were younger?
Never give up. If people call you names, you can’t get down on yourself or let go of your hopes and dreams, you just push yourself even harder. Everybody gets made fun of, but at the end of the day you may be the one having the last laugh. It’s not that people don’t have respect for you, they’re just kids and they don’t know any better themselves. I would say grow up and make a difference. Anybody can make a difference in this world so don’t let go of your hopes and dreams and keep pushing.
Follow Jarrel on Twitter at @_JarrelHarris