Earlier this week we watched the release of 2 of the greatest running backs of the modern era. Both Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson have been staples of NFL running games for the past 7 years. Now Charles, 30, and Peterson, 31, have found themselves in the unemployment line. Considered washed up and used goods. On the exterior they have to feel as if they have lots of life left in their bodies. The reality is that very few runners are productive past their 30th birthday.
Why? The reality is that the wear and tear of a running back is extreme. All it really takes is one max carry season and the next season will be riddled with injuries. There are many that subscribe to the thought that the curse of 370 is just a hoax. I’m here to tell you that the curse of 370 is real. Just ask Demarco Murray, Larry Johnson, Terrell Davis, Jamaal Lewis, Curtis Martin, Earl Campbell, Barry Foster, and Shaun Alexander.
When a running back gets to that many carries, the odds of injury and lower production increase because the body wasn’t meant to take that type of punishment on a consistent basis. If you hit that number in the late 20’s chances are you will never recover from it and your career will be in jeopardy.
The odd facts that Petersen and Charles are both coming off injuries and both in the twilight of their careers will create a lot of caution as people prepare to look for new runners and fresh bodies to fill rosters. The 2017 NFL draft will be loaded with more running backs than we’ve seen in about 8 years and lots of depth and talent at the position. That may make it even harder for these 30 year old vets to find a roster spot or land a good deal.
I’m sure both will get signed on name alone, but it’s likely that both are headed to the slaughterhouse pretty soon. That’s why I will never argue against kids coming out of college early and wanting that big contract when it’s time. Get that money, enjoy the ride, because 30 is right around the corner for a lot of your favorite NFL runners. It may not be the end of the road for your favorite runner. They just have to know that they will be sharing the load for a while and they will no longer be the featured back. I guess that’s okay because it buys them more time in the league and provides more financial stability for their future.