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Ten Best Running Backs of All Time in NFL

Bears Gayle Sayers Rushing During A Game
Sayers was drafted by the Chicago Bears with the fifth overall pick in the 1965 NFL draft
Raj Kiran
Modified 04 Jun 2018, 00:21 IST
Top 5 / Top 10

Running Back is one of the most demanding and punishing positions in football, an athlete playing as an RB has to be extremely fit both mentally and physically to take on the opposition's defenders head-on while handling the team's heavy workload at the same.

Many a great RB's have graced the NFL since its existence but there have always been some players who captivated the mind of the fans like no other, with their unique style of running from making the defenders miss tackles to breaking down tackles to gain that extra yard. Watching these players feels like watching a fusion between ballet and heavy metal.

Here are 10 of the best RB's ever to grace the NFL:

#10 Gale Sayers

Ever seen a comet which could move like a ballet, many would say no but if you ask any 60's football fan this question the name Gale Sayers would be a unanimous reply.

Sayers aka the "Kansas Comet", a Kansas native played college football for the University of Kansas where he amassed 4,020 yards across three seasons and was recognized as a consensus All-American twice.

Sayers was drafted by the Chicago Bears with the fifth overall pick in the 1965 NFL draft. His rookie season unravelled like a dream as he collected 2,232 yards with 22 touchdowns including a six-touchdown performance against the San Francisco 49ers.

In the same season on October 17, playing against Minnesota Vikings, Sayers scored a rushing, receiving and a kickoff return touchdown in the same game, it took about 50 years until 2016 when this unique was finally repeated by Tyreek Hill.

At the end of the season, he was unanimously selected as the rookie of the year.


In his next five seasons, Sayers earned four pro-bowl appearances and five first-team selections while also leading the NFL in rushing yards in a season twice, once in 1966 and the other in 1969.

In 1969, he also won the NFL comeback player of the year award for an NFL leading 1,032 rushing yards season, a performance he gave just after returning from a knee injury the year before which led to Sayers missing the final five games of the season.

Unfortunately, that was the last time the NFL saw Gale Sayers play a complete season of football as he suffered multiple knee injuries in '70 and '71 which led to his premature retirement from pro football.

In his seven years with the Chicago Bears, Sayers rushed for 4,956 yards at 5.0 yards per carry with 39 touchdowns. He also had 3,172 return yards with 8 return touchdowns.

Sayers was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977 at age 34, still remains the youngest ever to receive the honor.

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Published 04 Jun 2018, 00:21 IST
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