|No. 40, 18|
|Born:||October 14, 1947|
|Height:||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight:||188 lb (85 kg)|
|NFL Draft:||1969 / Round: 4 / Pick: 93|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Charles B. Joiner Jr. (born October 14, 1947) is an American former professional football player who was a wide receiver in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL) for 18 seasons. He is best known for his career with the San Diego Chargers, with whom he spent 11 seasons. Before joining the Chargers, he played for the Houston Oilers and Cincinnati Bengals each for four seasons. He retired with the most career receptions, receiving yards, and games played of any wide receiver in NFL history. Joiner was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996.
Early life and college
Born in Many, Louisiana, Joiner attended W. O. Boston High School in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He did not play football until his junior year, but excelled as an All-State Receiver and earned a scholarship to Grambling State University to play for coach Eddie Robinson. At Grambling, Joiner played with quarterback James Harris and was a three-time All-Southwestern Athletic Conference selection.
Professional football career
Joiner graduated from Grambling in 1969 and was drafted in the fourth round by the American Football League's Houston Oilers. He started his career as a defensive back, but he made the switch to wide receiver in his rookie year after being carted off the field from a hit by Denver Broncos running back Floyd Little. Joiner played for Houston until 1972, when he was traded to the Cincinnati Bengals. In 1975, Cincinnati traded Joiner to the San Diego Chargers, with whom he remained for eleven seasons before retiring as a player after the 1986 season. Before leaving the Bengals, he set a franchise record with 200 receiving yards in a single game.
It was with the Chargers' high flying "Air Coryell" offense under coach Don Coryell that Joiner had his most productive years, exceeding 1,000 yards receiving in a season four times and going to three Pro Bowls (1976, 1979–80). Joiner was selected All-Pro in 1980 and 2nd Team All-AFC in 1976. Although he never played in a Super Bowl, Joiner, quarterback Dan Fouts, tight end Kellen Winslow, and fellow receiver John Jefferson helped the Chargers reach the AFC title game in the 1980 and 1981 seasons.
In 1979, Joiner helped San Diego earn their first divisional title in 14 years with a 17–7 win over Denver in the regular-season finale. He was forced back to the locker room twice during the game with injuries, but returned to the field bandaged both times. It was an inspirational performance with Jefferson unable to play and John Floyd, the Chargers only other receiver, being just a rookie. In the 1980 AFC championship game, Joiner caught 6 passes for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns. In January 1982, he played a key role in San Diego's 41–38 divisional postseason overtime win over the Miami Dolphins in a game that became known as The Epic In Miami. Joiner caught 7 passes for 108 yards in the game, including a 39-yard reception on the penultimate play of the game set up Rolf Benirschke's game-winning 29-yard field goal. The Chargers advanced again to the conference championship, but lost to Joiner's former team, Cincinnati.
With Harold Jackson's retirement after 1983, Joiner became the NFL's active leader in receiving yards, then 4th all-time. He remained the league leader for his three remaining seasons, breaking Don Maynard's all-time record of 11,834 yards in Week 5 of 1986.
Joiner was the last active player from the AFL. He finished his 18 AFL/NFL seasons with 750 receptions for 12,146 yards (16.2 average per catch) and 65 touchdowns. He retired as the then-NFL leader in career receptions, yards, and games played by a wide receiver (239). At age 39, Joiner also retired as the oldest wide receiver in NFL history (since surpassed by Jerry Rice among others). Joiner credited his success and longevity to Coryell: "Thanks to Coach Coryell’s offense and his revolutionary passing game, he prolonged my career, from the day I got to the Chargers until the day I retired. I will forever be grateful to him and what he did for the game of football."
Joiner excelled despite neither being among the quickest nor most talented receivers in the NFL. In addition to good health and longevity, Joiner was an intelligent player and precise pass route runner. Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh called Joiner "the most intelligent, the smartest, the most calculating receiver the game has ever known."
In 1987, Chargers head coach Al Saunders hired Joiner as an assistant coach. He was later an assistant for the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs. Joiner returned to San Diego as receivers coach from 2008 to 2012 before retiring after 44 years as a player and coach in football.
- "Charlie Joiner" (PDF). Retrieved October 26, 2019.
- Jaworski, Ron (2010). The Games That Changed the Game: The Evolution of the NFL in Seven Sundays. Random House. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-345-51795-1.
- "Regular Season Individual Records - Cincinnati Bengals". Archived from the original on October 14, 2006. Retrieved November 15, 2006.
- Dolan, Steve (January 13, 1987). "For Joiner, Career Had Thrills and a Regret : He Recalls Records, but Missed Super Bowl". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
- Moran, Malcolm (January 3, 1982). "CHARGERS WIN IN OVERTIME; COWBOYS ROMP; BENIRSCHKE KICK GIVES SAN DIEGO 41-38 DECISION". The New York Times. Section 5, page 1. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
- Charlie Joiner, game log
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- "Charlie Joiner highlights". The Oregonian. January 14, 1987. p. D5 (61).
- Center, Bill. "Don Coryell, ex-Chargers, Aztecs coach dies at 85". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
- Jaworski 2010, p.81
- "Charlie Joiner". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- Trey Iles (July 23, 2014). "NFL Hall of Famer Grambling's Charlie Joiner is No. 28 on Louisiana's list of all-time top 51 athletes | Sports". The Times-Picayune. nola.com. Retrieved October 26, 2019.
- Matthews, Bob (August 15, 1999). "Wings' streak was Rochester's best". Democrat and Chronicle. p. 3D. Retrieved December 17, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Charlie Joiner retires from San Diego Chargers". NFL.com. Retrieved October 26, 2019.