Top 20 Rushers

02/21/2005

In his 10th NFL season, Curtis Martin earned his first league rushing title. The New York Jets runner gained 1,697 yards in 2004 to climb seven spots in the Top 20 rushers of all-time. His career total of 13,366 yards places him fourth in career rushing yardage.

 Martin_T20_20054
Curtis Martin

Two other veteran runners – Emmitt Smith and Jerome Bettis – narrowly missed adding another 1,000-yard season to their career repertoire. Smith, in his 15th and final season of his career, totaled 937 yards and rushed for nine TDs for the Arizona Cardinals. His all-time record for rushing yards now stands at 18,355 yards. Meanwhile, Jerome Bettis, originally slated for a backup with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2004, carried 250 times for 941 yards. He now ranks 5th all-time, a mere 72 yards behind Martin’s total.

Other players who were active in 2004 who rank among the Top 20 are Marshall Faulk of the St. Louis Rams (No. 12), Eddie George of the Dallas Cowboys (No. 16), and the New England Patriots’ Corey Dillon. Dillon, in his first season with New England, racked up a career-high and a Patriots team-record 1,635 yards in 2004. He entered the Top 20 career rushing leaders during Week 7 and advanced past Hall of Famer Earl Campbell to 19th all-time with a total of 9,696 yards.

(At the Start of the 2005 NFL Season)
Rank   Player League
Yrs.
Att.
Yards
Avg.
TD
1
(1)
EMMITT SMITH NFL
15
4,409
18,355
4.2
164
2
(2)
Walter Payton * NFL
13
3,838
16,726
4.4
110
3
(3)
Barry Sanders * NFL
10
3,062
15,269
5.0
99
4
(11)
CURTIS MARTIN NFL
10
3,298
13,366
4.1
85
5
(6)
JEROME BETTIS NFL
12
3,369
13,294
3.9
82
6
(4)
Eric Dickerson * NFL
11
2,996
13,259
4.4
90
7
(5)
Tony Dorsett * NFL
12
2,936
12,739
4.3
77
8
(7)
Jim Brown * NFL
9
2,359
12,312
5.2
106
9
(8)
Marcus Allen * NFL
16
3,022
12,243
4.1
123
10
(9)
Franco Harris * NFL
13
2,949
12,120
4.1
91
11
(10)
Thurman Thomas NFL
13
2,877
12,074
4.2
65
12
(14)
MARSHALL FAULK NFL
11
2,771
11,987
4.3
100
13
(12)
John Riggins * NFL
14
2,916
11,352
3.9
104
14
(13)
O.J. Simpson * AFL-NFL
11
2,404
11,236
4.7
61
15
(15)
Ricky Watters NFL
10
2,622
10,643
4.1
78
16
(17)
EDDIE GEORGE NFL
9
2,865
10,441
3.6
68
17
(16)
O.J. Anderson NFL
14
2,562
10,273
4.0
81
18
(18)
Joe Perry * AAFC-NFL
16
1,929
9,723
5.0
71
19
(--)
COREY DILLON NFL
8
2,210
9,696
4.4
57
20
(19)
Earl Campbell * NFL
8
2,187
9,407
4.3
74
 
2004 Notes:
COREY DILLON entered the Top 20 in Week 7 of the 2004 NFL Season. Terry Allen (2,152 att. for 8,614 yards, and 73 TDs) was displaced from the Top 20.
Next in Line:
Players active in 2004 who rank closest to a Top 20 ranking: GARRISON HEARST (7,966), EDGERRIN JAMES (7,720), FRED TAYLOR (7,580), and STEPHEN DAVIS (7,326).
 
ACTIVE IN 2004
* Pro Football Hall of Fame Member
( ) - indicates rank at the start of the 2004 season

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