Who Has The Most Rushing Yards In NFL History?

Who Has The Most Rushing Yards In NFL History? Photo by Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Players With The Most Rushing Yards In NFL History

NFL Stats and Records

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There’s been a lot of great running backs in NFL history and there’s 31 different players with 10,000-plus career rushing yards. Eight of the top-10 rushers in NFL history are in the NFL Hall of Fame, and you can expect the other two runners to enter once they finally decide to hang it up. Get Free NFL Picks and NFL Predictions for every game all season long at Sports Chat Place. 

Here are the 10 players with the most rushing yards in NFL history.

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1. Emmitt Smith, 18,355 yards - Emmitt Smith led the NFL in rushing yards four times in his career and topped 1,000 rushing yards in 11 of his 15 seasons. Smith averaged 1,603 rushing yards from 1991 to 1995, and he holds the Dallas Cowboys all-time rushing record with 17,162 yards.

2. Walter Payton, 16,726 yards - Walter Payton held the NFL record when he retired after the 1987 season, and that’s all while leading the league in rushing yards just once. Payton holds the NFL record with 108 games of 100 or more yards from scrimmage. With his entire career spent with the Chicago Bears, Payton is comfortably the leading rusher in franchise history.

3. Frank Gore, 15,347 yards - Frank Gore has never led the league in rushing yards, but he’s played 15 seasons, has been durable and holds the NFL record with 12 seasons of 1,200 yards from scrimmage. Gore also holds the San Francisco 49ers franchise record with 11,073 rushing yards.

4. Barry Sanders, 15,269 yards - Barry Sanders topped 1,100 rushing yards in all 10 of his seasons, which is an NFL record. Sanders led the league in rushing four times and is one of seven players with 2,000 rushing yards in a season. Sanders would probably be higher on this list if he didn’t retire at 30 years old. 

5. Adrian Peterson, 14,216 yards - Adrian Peterson led the league in rushing three times and produced 3,101 rushing yards in his first two seasons. Peterson has the most rushing yards in a game with 296, and he’s the Minnesota Vikings all-time leading rusher with 11,747 yards.

6. Curtis Martin, 14,101 yards - Curtis Martin topped 1,000 rushing yards in the first 10 of his 11 seasons, and he’s the oldest player to lead the league in rushing at 31 years old. Martin is the New York Jets all-time leading rusher with 10,302 rushing yards.

7. LaDainian Tomlinson, 13,684 yards - LaDainian Tomlinson topped 1,100 rushing yards in each of his first eight seasons and racked up 3,289 rushing yards from 2006 to 2007. Tomlinson was a fantasy football god, and he’s the Los Angeles / San Diego Chargers all-time leading rusher with 12,490 yards.

8. Jerome Bettis, 13,662 yards - Jerome Bettis never led the league in rushing, but he cleared the 1,000-yard mark in eight of his 11 seasons and was an absolute workhorse, averaging 298 attempts his first five seasons. Bettis is second all-time in Pittsburgh Steelers franchise history with 10,571 rushing yards.

9. Eric Dickerson, 13,259 yards - Eric Dickerson rushed for 1,808 yards as a rookie and has a season where he rushed for 2,105 yards, both NFL records. Dickerson had 6,968 rushing yards in his first four seasons. Dickerson retired as the second-leading rusher in NFL history.

10. Tony Dorsett, 12,739 yards - Tony Dorsett topped 1,000 rushing yards in each of his first five seasons and holds the NFL record with a 99-yard rushing touchdown. Dorsett is second all-time in Cowboys history with 12,036 rushing yards. 

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The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a Sports Chat Place site consensus.