Who Has The Most Combined Tackles In NFL History?
Photo by Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Top 10 Combined Tackle Leaders In NFL History
NFL Stats and Records
There’s a lot of ways to judge a defensive football player and tackles is probably the most basic stat people look towards. It never tells you the whole story, but it does tell you that the player is often in the right spot at the right time and has a nose for the football.
Here are the 10 players with the most tackles in NFL history. (Note: This is a combined tackles list, which includes solo and assisted tackles)
1. Ray Lewis, 2,059 - Ray Lewis topped 100 combined tackles in 13 of his 17 NFL seasons and led the league in combined tackles and solo tackles in three of those seasons. Considered one of the nastiest and best linebackers in the games history, Lewis averaged 117.3 solo tackles in his first six seasons.
2. London Fletcher, 2,039 - London Fletcher only led the league once in combined tackles (166), and he did so in his 14th year. Fletcher had 111 or more combined tackles in 14 of his 16 NFL seasons and played in all 16 games every season of his career. The reliability plays a big role in why Fletcher is on this list.
3. Junior Seau, 1,847 - Junior Seau never led the league in combined tackles, but he played 20 years and covered sideline to sideline that allowed him to make plays constantly. Seau surpassed 100 combined tackles in eight different seasons and started double-digit games in 15 of his 20 years. Again, longevity and reliability is key to cracking these lists.
4. Jessie Tuggle, 1,805 - Jessie Tuggle averaged 140.7 solo tackles in his first 10 seasons, and he led the league in combined tackles four different times. Tuggle has two of the top-three combined tackle seasons in NFL history with 207 tackles in 1991 and 201 tackles in 1990.
5. Zach Thomas, 1,734 - Zach Thomas led the league in combined tackles in 2002 and 2006, and he had at least 128 combined tackles in 10 of his 13 NFL seasons. Thomas is by far the best tackler in Miami Dolphins history, as he’s comfortably at the top of the list with 1,042 solo tackles.
6. Derrick Brooks, 1,713 - Derrick Brooks topped 100 combined tackles 12 straight seasons, as it was only his rookie season and his last season when he didn’t reach triple digits. Brooks led the league once in combined tackles and three times in solo tackles. Brooks is the all-time leader in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history with 1,300 solo tackles.
7. Clay Matthews, 1,595 - The youngsters think of the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams linebacker when Clay Matthews is mentioned, but his farther was a hell of a football player in his own right. Matthews led the league in combined tackles four times, and he’s the Cleveland Browns all-time leading tackler with 1,430 solo tackles to his credit.
8. Hardy Nickerson, 1,586 - Hardy Nickerson spent his career on a lot of bad football teams, but he’s one of the best tacklers of all-time and actually holds the record with 214 combined tackles in a single-season, a feat he accomplished in 1993. Nickerson and Tuggle are the only players in NFL history with 200-plus combined tackles in a single season.
9. Donnie Edwards, 1,501 - Donnie Edwards had at least 100 combined tackles in 11 of his 13 seasons, as he failed to reach that mark only his rookie season and the last season of his career. Edwards is fourth on the Kansas City Chiefs all-time tackle list with 592 solo tackles.
10. Kyle Clifton, 1,484 - Kyle Clifton led the league in combined tackles three different seasons and actually produced 447 combined tackles in his first three seasons in the league. Clifton is first all-time on the New York Jets tackle list with 1,468 solo tackles.