Who Are the All-Time Rushing Leaders in the NFL?


Quick Answer

As of 2014, the top four all-time rushing leaders in the National Football League are Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders and Curtis Martin. All four have all been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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Who Are the All-Time Rushing Leaders in the NFL?
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Full Answer

Emmitt Smith joined the NFL in 1990 as a Dallas Cowboy, closed out his career in 2004 as an Arizona Cardinal, and carried the ball 4,409 times for a total of 18,355 yards and an average of 4.2 yards per carry. Walter Payton carried the ball 3,838 times and gained 16,726 yards for an average of 4.4 yards per carry in his career with the Chicago Bears, spanning from 1975 to 1987. The Detroit Lions' outstanding running back from 1989 to 1998, Barry Sanders gained 15,269 yards on 3,062 carries for an average of 5.0 yards per carry. Curtis Martin split his career between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets from 1995 to 2006, and he rushed for 14,101 yards on 3,518 carries for a per-carry average of 4.0 yards.

As of 2014, the only active NFL player in the top 25 all-time rush leaders is the Atlanta Falcons' running back, Steven Jackson. He continues to build on his record of 10,944 yards gained on 2,622 carries for an average of 4.2 yards per carry.

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