List of National Football League career rushing yards leaders

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This is a list of National Football League running backs by total career rushing yards. This list includes all running backs who have rushed for at least 10,000 yards.

Players with at least 10,000 rushing yards[edit]

Key
^ Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame
* Denotes player who is still active in the NFL

Through Week 6 of 2018 season

Rank Player Team(s) by season Carries Yards Average
1 Emmitt Smith^ Dallas Cowboys (19902002)
Arizona Cardinals (20032004)
4,409 18,355 4.2
2 Walter Payton^ Chicago Bears (19751987) 3,838 16,726 4.4
3 Barry Sanders^ Detroit Lions (19891998) 3,062 15,269 5.0
4 Frank Gore* San Francisco 49ers (20052014)
Indianapolis Colts (20152017)
Miami Dolphins (2018–present)
3,288 14,329 4.4
5 Curtis Martin^ New England Patriots (19951997)
New York Jets (19982005)
3,518 14,101 4.0
6 LaDainian Tomlinson^ San Diego Chargers (20012009)
New York Jets (20102011)
3,174 13,684 4.3
7 Jerome Bettis^ St. Louis/L.A. Rams (19931995[a])
Pittsburgh Steelers (19962005)
3,479 13,662 3.9
8 Eric Dickerson^ Los Angeles Rams (19831987[b])
Indianapolis Colts (19871991)
Los Angeles Raiders (1992)
Atlanta Falcons (1993)
2,996 13,259 4.4
9 Tony Dorsett^ Dallas Cowboys (19771987)
Denver Broncos (1988)
2,936 12,739 4.3
10 Adrian Peterson* Minnesota Vikings (20072016)
New Orleans Saints/Arizona Cardinals (2017)
Washington Redskins (2018–present)
2,651 12,615 4.8
11 Jim Brown^ Cleveland Browns (19571965) 2,359 12,312 5.2
12 Marshall Faulk^ Indianapolis Colts (19941998)
St. Louis Rams (19992005)
2,836 12,279 4.3
13 Edgerrin James Indianapolis Colts (19992005)
Arizona Cardinals (20062008)
Seattle Seahawks (2009)
3,028 12,246 4.0
14 Marcus Allen^ Los Angeles Raiders (19821992)
Kansas City Chiefs (19931997)
3,022 12,243 4.1
15 Franco Harris^ Pittsburgh Steelers (19721983)
Seattle Seahawks (1984)
2,949 12,120 4.1
16 Thurman Thomas^ Buffalo Bills (19881999)
Miami Dolphins (2000)
2,877 12,074 4.2
17 Fred Taylor Jacksonville Jaguars (19982008)
New England Patriots (20092010)
2,534 11,695 4.6
18 Steven Jackson St. Louis Rams (20042012)
Atlanta Falcons (20132014)
New England Patriots (2015)
2,764 11,438 4.1
19 John Riggins^ New York Jets (19711975)
Washington Redskins (19761985)
2,916 11,352 3.9
20 Corey Dillon Cincinnati Bengals (19972003)
New England Patriots (20042006)
2,618 11,241 4.3
21 O. J. Simpson^ Buffalo Bills (19691977)
San Francisco 49ers (19781979)
2,806 11,236 4.0
22 Warrick Dunn Tampa Bay Buccaneers (19972001, 2008)
Atlanta Falcons (20022007)
2,669 10,967 4.1
23 Ricky Watters San Francisco 49ers (19921994)
Philadelphia Eagles (19951997)
Seattle Seahawks (19982001)
2,622 10,643 4.1
24 Jamal Lewis Baltimore Ravens (20002006)
Cleveland Browns (20072009)
2,542 10,607 4.2
25 Thomas Jones Arizona Cardinals (20002002)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2003)
Chicago Bears (20042006)
New York Jets (20072009)
Kansas City Chiefs (20102011)
2,678 10,591 4.0
26 Tiki Barber New York Giants (19972006) 2,217 10,449 4.7
27 Eddie George Houston/Tennessee Oilers/Titans (1996[c]2003)
Dallas Cowboys (2004)
2,865 10,441 3.6
28 Marshawn Lynch* Buffalo Bills (20072010)
Seattle Seahawks (20102015)
Oakland Raiders (2017–present)
2,441 10,379 4.3
29 LeSean McCoy* Philadelphia Eagles (20092014)
Buffalo Bills (2015–present)
2,246 10,335 4.6
30 Otis Anderson St. Louis Cardinals (19791986[d])
New York Giants (19861992)
2,562 10,273 4.0
31 Ricky Williams New Orleans Saints (19992001)
Miami Dolphins (20022003, 20052010)
Baltimore Ravens (2011)
2,431 10,009 4.1

Historical rushing yards leaders[edit]

Eight players have been recognized as having held the career rushing yards record in the NFL. Since reliable yardage statistics were not recorded prior to 1932, the first NFL player recognized as the career leader in rushing yards was Cliff Battles, who played from 1932 to 1937 for the Boston Braves / Boston Redskins / Washington Redskins.[1] He led the NFL with 576 yards in 1932 and held on to the record throughout his career. Emmitt Smith has held the record since surpassing Walter Payton's long-standing total in 2002.[2]

Reign Player Team(s) by season Carries Yards Average
19321941
(9 years)
Cliff Battles^ Washington Redskins (19321937) 839 3,511 4.2
19411949
(8 years)
Clarke Hinkle^ Green Bay Packers (19321941) 1,171 3,860 3.3
19491958
(9 years)
Steve Van Buren^ Philadelphia Eagles (19441951) 1,320 5,860 4.4
19581963
(5 years)
Joe Perry^ San Francisco 49ers (19481960, 1963)
Baltimore Colts (19611962)
1,737 8,378 4.8
19631984
(19 years)
Jim Brown ^ Cleveland Browns (19571965) 2,359 12,312 5.2
19842002
(18 years)
Walter Payton^ Chicago Bears (19751987) 3,838 16,726 4.4
2002–present
(15 years)
Emmitt Smith^ Dallas Cowboys (19902002)
Arizona Cardinals (20032004)
4,409 18,355 4.2

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In 1995, the Los Angeles Rams became known as the St. Louis Rams after the franchise relocated; they returned in 2016.
  2. ^ Dickerson was traded mid-season in 1987; he played three games for the Rams and nine for the Colts.
  3. ^ In the 1996 season, George's first, the Tennessee Titans were known as the Houston Oilers; the franchise relocated prior to the commencement of the 1997 season, and were renamed the Titans in 1999.
  4. ^ Anderson was traded mid-season in 1986; he played four games for the Cardinals and eight for the Giants.

References[edit]

General
  • "NFL History – Rushing Leaders". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2017-09-12.
  • "NFL Rushing Yards Career Leaders". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference. Retrieved 2017-09-12.
Footnotes
  1. ^ Frye, Brian (June 28, 2016). "History of the Career Rushing Yards Record". thegridfe.com. GridFe. Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  2. ^ "Smith's Firm Hold on Coveted Record". Pro Football Hall of Fame. August 1, 2010. Retrieved October 28, 2017.