Top 20 Rushers

02/21/2006

Four runners who were active during the 2005 NFL season rank among the Top 20 rushers of all-time. The group battled injuries and age to add yardage to their impressive career totals.

Jerome_Bettis
Jerome Bettis

Jerome Bettis of the Super Bowl XL champion Pittsburgh Steelers ended his outstanding career as the fifth ranked runner of all-time. Bettis, who served a role player during his 13th and final NFL season, finished his career with 13,662 yards gained on 3,479 carries and scored 91 rushing touchdowns.

The New York Jets Curtis Martin became just the fourth player in NFL history to rush for 14,000 yards in a career as he joined Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton and Barry Sanders in achieving that feat. However, the 11-year veteran had his streak of 10 straight 1,000-yard seasons snapped as he gained 735 yards during an injury-shortened 2005 season.

Corey Dillon of the New England Patriots managed a team-high 733 yards and 12 TDs in 2005 despite being hampered by injuries during much of his 9th NFL season. He climbed two spots to finish the year in 17th place all-time. The St. Louis Rams' Marshall Faulk reached the 12,000-yard career mark in 2005 as he moved into 9th place by season's end.

(At the Start of the 2006 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 (4) CURTIS MARTIN NFL
11
3,518
14,101
4.0
90
5 (5) JEROME BETTIS NFL
13
3,479
13,662
3.9
91
6 (6) Eric Dickerson * NFL
11
2,996
13,259
4.4
90
7 (7) Tony Dorsett * NFL
12
2,936
12,739
4.3
77
8 (8) Jim Brown * NFL
9
2,359
12,312
5.2
106
9 (12) MARSHALL FAULK NFL
12
2,836
12,279
4.3
100
10 (9) Marcus Allen * NFL
16
3,022
12,243
4.1
123
11 (10) Franco Harris * NFL
13
2,949
12,120
4.1
91
12 (11) Thurman Thomas NFL
13
2,877
12,074
4.2
65
13 (13) John Riggins * NFL
14
2,916
11,352
3.9
104
14 (14) 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 (16) Eddie George NFL
9
2,865
10,441
3.6
68
17 (19) COREY DILLON NFL
9
2,419
10,429
4.3
69
18 (17) O.J. Anderson NFL
14
2,562
10,273
4.0
81
19 (18) Joe Perry * AAFC-NFL
16
1,929
9,723
5.0
71
20 (20) Earl Campbell * NFL
8
2,187
9,407
4.3
74
 
2005 Notes:
There were no new additions to the Top 20 during the 2005 NFL season.
Next in Line:
Players active in 2005 who rank closest to a Top 20 ranking: EDGERRIN JAMES (9,226), TIKI BARBER (8,787), FRED TAYLOR (8,367), WARRICK DUNN (8,321), PRIEST HOLMES (8,035), STEPHEN DAVIS (7,875), SHAUN ALEXANDER (7,817), AHMAN GREEN (7,432), and LaDAINIAN TOMLINSON (7,361).
 
ACTIVE IN 2005
* Pro Football Hall of Fame Member
( ) - indicates rank at the start of the 2005 season
 
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