The top 12 career rushing yards in NFL history
This article highlights the NFL players with the greatest career rushing yards who have scored more than 12000 rushing yards in their career. More than 25 players in NFL history have rushed for 10,000 yards or more. The running backs are in charge of rushing and gaining yards.
A good rushing yard is one that is more than 100 yards, and the top running back can usually score more than 2000 yards per season.
Here are the 12 best running backs in NFL history who rushed for over 10,000 yards.
And, because some of the players mentioned are still active in the market, their track record is bound to improve in the future.
12 Most Career Rushing Yards in the NFL History
|Name of the player||Rushing Yards|
|12. Marshall Faulk||12,279|
|11. Jim Brown||12,312|
|10. Tony Dorsett||12,739|
|9. Eric Dickerson||13,259|
|8. Jerome Bettis||13,662|
|7. LaDainian Tomlinson||13,684|
|6. Curtis Martin||14,101|
|5. Adrian Peterson||14,820|
|4. Barry Sanders||15,269|
|3. Frank Gore||16,000|
|2. Walter Payton||16,726|
|1. Emmit Smith||18,355|
12. Marshall Faulks
- 1994 NFL Draft
- 12 279 yards rushing
- Team: St Louis Rams Status: Retired
Marshall Frank, the NFL’s Most Valuable Athlete in 2000, is the only player to have 12,000 running yards and 6000 receiving yards.
Frank was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
Frank made his NFL debut in 1994 with the Indianapolis Colts, where he stayed from 1994 until 1998.
In his first game, he rushed for 1,282 yards and 11 touchdowns.
He joined the St. Louis Rams in 1999 and retired with them in 2006.
In 1999, he was named NFL Offensive Player of the Year and was selected to the Pro Bowl.
The following year, he won the NFL MVP award and set a record with 26 total touchdowns.
In his NFL career, he gained 12,279 yards and averaged 4.3 yards per run.
He also had 100 rushing touchdowns and 36 receiving touchdowns.
11. Jim Brown
- 1957 NFL Draft
- 12 312 rushing yards
- Team: Cleveland Browns Status: Retired
Jim Brown is a former fullback who played for the Cleveland Browns.
Brown was picked by the Browns in the 1957 NFL Draft and played with them until 1965.
Brown is one of the best running backs in NFL history, having rushed for 12,312 yards in his career.
He also had 106 rushing scores and 20 receiving touchdowns with 2.499 receiving yards.
Brown proved his worth as soon as he began his NFL career by winning the NFL Rookie of the Year award in his first year.
He was also the 1964 NFL Champion and three-time NFL Most Valuable Player of the Year in 1957, 1958, and 1965.
Similarly, he has been named to the Pro Bowl nine times and First-Team All-Pro eight times.
He has also been named NFL rushing yards leader of the year eight times and NFL rushing touchdowns leader five times.
10. Tony Dorsett
- 1977 NFL Draft
- 12 739 yards rushing
- Team: Denver Broncos Status: Retired
Tony Dorsett, the Denver Broncos running back, spent the majority of his career with the Dallas Cowboys.
He won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year with the Cowboys and played in all 11 seasons.
His time with the Cowboys was the peak of his career, as he helped them win Super Bowl XII.
In 1976, he also won the National Championship, the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, and the Walter Camp Award.
He also shares the NFL record for 99-yard rushing touchdowns with Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans.
In his NFL career, he had 12,739 rushing yards and 3,554 receiving yards.
He also had 17 running touchdowns and 13 catching touchdowns.
9. Eric Dickerson
- 1983 NFL Draft
- 13,259 yards rushing
- Team: Atlanta Falcons Status: Retired
The Los Angeles Rams selected Eric Dickerson in the 1983 NFL Draft.
Dickerson formerly played for the Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Rams, and Atlanta Falcons.
He earned the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in his rookie year and went on to win the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 1986.
In addition, he led the NFL in rushing yards in 1983, 1984, 1986, and 1988.
Dickerson has multiple NFL marks, including 2,105 yards rushing in a season, 1,808 yards rushing as a rookie, and 248 yards rushing in a playoff.
Similarly, he was the NFL’s leading rusher in 1984.
He had 13,259 rushing yards and 2,137 receiving yards in his NFL career.
He also has 90 rushing touchdowns and 6 receiving touchdowns on his resume.
8. Jerome Bettis
- 1993 NFL Draft
- 13,664 yards rushing
- Team: Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams Status: Retired
Jerome Abram Bettis Sr. is a former American football running back who was picked by the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams in the 1993 NFL Draft.
Bettis also won the Super Bowl XL with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1996 through 2005.
He has been named First-Team All-Pro twice and Second-Team All-Pro once.
Similarly, he was named to the Pro Bowl six times during his NFL career.
In addition, in 1996, Jerome was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
In addition, he was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2001.
In his NFL career, he accumulated 13,664 running yards at 3.9 yards per carrying and 1,457 receiving yards.
In addition, he has 91 rushing touchdowns and 3 receiving touchdowns.
7. LaDainian Tomlinson
- 2001 NFL Draft
- 13,684 yards rushing
- Team: New York Jets Status: Retired
Former NFL player LaDainian Tramayne Tomlinson played for the San Diego Chargers and the New York Jets.
Despite having a brief NFL career, he broke multiple records and won numerous titles.
Tomlinson holds the NFL record with 28 rushing touchdowns, 31 scrimmage seasons, and 18 games played in a row.
Furthermore, he had 13,684 rushing yards and 145 rushing touchdowns during his NFL career.
He was also named NFL MVP, NFL Offensive Player of the Year, Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year (2006), and Bert Bell Award winner.
He was also a five-time Pro-Bowl pick and a three-time First-team and Second-team All-Pro selection.
In addition, he was the NFL running yards leader in 2006 and 2007, as well as the NFL rushing touchdowns leader in 2004, 2006, and 2007.
6. Curtis Martin
- 1998 NFL Draft
- 14,101 yards rushing
- Team: New York Jets Status: Retired
Curtis Martin is a former NFL running back who played for the New York Jets and the New England Patriots.
The Patriots selected him in the NFL Draft in 1995.
He was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in his rookie season.
In 2004, he was the NFL rushing yards leader, and in 2006, he received the Bart Starr Award.
Martin was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012.
His NFL career stats include 14,101 running yards and 1,329 receiving yards at 4.0 yards per carrying.
In addition, he has 90 rushing touchdowns and 10 receiving touchdowns in his career.
Martin was the oldest player to win the NFL rushing yardage title in 2004, with 1,697 yards.
FedEx named him Ground Player of the Year the same year.
5. Adrian Peterson
- 2007 NFL Draft
- 14,820 yards rushing
- Team: Detroit Lions Status: Active
Adrian Peterson is a Detroit Lions running back who was picked in the 2007 NFL Draft.
He is currently a free agent with the Lions on a one-year contract.
He was named NFL MVP after rushing for 2,097 yards in the 2012 season.
He was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in his rookie season and scored 3000 yards or more in each of his first two seasons.
He is also the fifth fastest player in history to cross 5000 yards.
Adrian was named NFL Most Valuable Player and NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2012.
Similarly, he has won the Bert Bell Award twice, the Hall Trophy once, the NFL rushing yards leader three times, and the rushing touchdowns leader twice.
Peterson is still playing in the NFL and has 14,820 rushing yards and 2,466 receiving yards to date.
He also has 118 rushing touchdowns and 6 receiving touchdowns.
4. Barry Sanders
- 1989 NFL Draft
- 15,269 yards rushing
- Team: Detroit Lions Status: Retired
Barry Sanders was picked by the Detroit Lions in the 1989 NFL Draft and spent his whole career with them.
In his rookie season, he was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and the next year, he was named NFL running yards leader.
He also won the rushing yards title four times, in 1990, 1994, 1996, and 1997.
Sanders is a superb running back who was named NFL Most Valuable Player in 1997.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004 after retiring.
He had 15,269 running yards and 2,921 receiving yards in his NFL career, averaging 8 yards per carrying.
Similarly, he has a personal record of 99 rushing touchdowns and 10 receiving touchdowns.
3. Mr. Frank Gore
- 2005 NFL Draft
- 16,000 yards rushing
- Team: New York Jets (active)
Franklin Gore Sr is a free agent who currently plays for the New York Jets.
The San Francisco 49ers selected him in the fifth round of the 2005 NFL Draft.
He has previously played for the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, and Buffalo Bills.
Gore has been named to five Pro Bowls and one Second-Team All-Pro.
4 He also won the Art Rooney Award in 2016 and was the BCS national champion in 2001.
He has multiple NFL marks, including the most games played by a running back (241) and the first player to have 12 consecutive 1200-yard games.
He currently has 16,000 running yards and 3,985 receiving yards with a 4.3 yard per carrying.
Gore also has 81 running touchdowns and 18 receptions touchdowns.
2. Walter Payton
- 1975 NFL Draft
- 16,726 yards rushing
- Team: Chicago Status: Retired
Walter was an American football running back who spent his whole career with the Chicago Bears.
With the Bears, he won his first Super Bowl XX.
He was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, as well as a five-time First-team and three-time Second-team All-Pro selection.
He was named NFL MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, and Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 1977.
1977 was a banner year for him, as he led the NFL in running yards and rushing touchdowns.
The same year, Walter was named AP NFL MVP.
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1. Emmit Smith
- 1990 NFL Draft
- 18355 yards rushing
- Team: Arizona Cardinals Status: Retired
Emmit Smith is a former NFL running back who owns the most rushing yards in NFL history (18,355).
He was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in his rookie season.
Smith was the only running back to win a Super Bowl, the NFL Most Valuable Player, and the KCC NFC Offensive Player of the Year in 1993.
He is also a three-time Super Bowl champion, four-time NFL rushing yards leader, and three-time NFL rushing touchdowns leader.
Smith’s NFL career has been amazing, with the most incredible running yards, 164 rushing touchdowns, and 4,409 rushing attempts in NFL history.
Emmit Smith was finally inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.
In conclusion, we have reached the end of the list of NFL running backs with the most rushing yards in history.
All of the guys named have over 12,000 yards rushing. Some of them are still working in their respective fields.
Can we expect record-breaking running yardage from them in the near future?