Running backs are extremely vital to the success of a football team. They often wear down though by the end of their career and end up splitting time or being injured. Very few running backs retire at the top of their game.
Here we are going to look at the list of NFL running backs who have rushed for 1,000 yards or more in their final season in the league. There are five players who qualify for this list and as of 2009, two of them are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
1. Tiki Barber – New York Giants – 2006 – 1,662 yards
2. Jim Brown – Cleveland Browns – 1965 – 1,544 yards – Hall of Fame
3. Robert Smith – Minnesota Vikings – 2000 – 1,521 yards
4. Barry Sanders – Detroit Lions – 1998 – 1,491 yards – Hall of Fame
5. James Stewart – Detroit Lions – 2002 – 1,021 yards
A few interesting facts about this list of great players:
-The first four names on the list all played their entire careers with just one team. James Stewart spent his first five seasons in the league with the Jacksonville Jaguars before spending his final three seasons with Detroit.
-At one time this contained six names as Michael Vick rushed for 1,039 yards in 2006 for the Atlanta Falcons and then was out of football for two seasons. Upon coming back with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009, he no longer qualified for the list.
-Two of the players on this list retired from the NFL before reaching the age of 30; Jim Brown (29) and Robert Smith (28).
-Two of the players on this list played fewer than 16 games and still reached this plateau. Jim Brown played 14 games because that is how long the seasons were in 1965 and James Stewart also played in just 14 games in 2002.
-The most touchdowns in the final season of any of these players belongs to Jim Brown who scored 17. Second place is Robert Smith with seven.