This is a list of National Football League running backs by total career rushing yards. This list includes all running backs who have rushed for at least 10,000 yards. Emmitt Smith has held the all-time rushing yards record since 2002.
Players with at least 10,000 rushing yards
|^||Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame|
|*||Denotes player who is still active in the NFL|
Through end of 2018 season
Players with at least 1,000 post season rushing yards
|Rank||Player||Team(s) by season||Carries||Yards||Average|
|1||Emmitt Smith^||Dallas Cowboys (1990–2002)
Arizona Cardinals (2003–2004)
|2||Franco Harris^||Pittsburgh Steelers (1972–1983)
Seattle Seahawks (1984)
|3||Thurman Thomas^||Buffalo Bills (1988–1999)
Miami Dolphins (2000)
|4||Tony Dorsett^||Dallas Cowboys (1977–1987)
Denver Broncos (1988)
|5||Marcus Allen^||Los Angeles Raiders (1982–1992)
Kansas City Chiefs (1993–1997)
|6||Terrell Davis^||Denver Broncos (1995–2001)||204||1,140||5.6|
Historical rushing yards leaders
Eight players have been recognized as having held the career rushing yards record in the NFL. Since reliable yardage statistics were not recorded prior to 1932, the first NFL player recognized as the career leader in rushing yards was Cliff Battles, who played from 1932 to 1937 for the Boston Braves / Boston Redskins / Washington Redskins. He led the NFL with 576 yards in 1932 and held on to the record throughout his career. Emmitt Smith has held the record since surpassing Walter Payton's long-standing total in 2002.
|Reign||Player||Team(s) by season||Carries||Yards||Average|
|Cliff Battles^||Washington Redskins (1932–1937)||839||3,511||4.2|
|Clarke Hinkle^||Green Bay Packers (1932–1941)||1,171||3,860||3.3|
|Steve Van Buren^||Philadelphia Eagles (1944–1951)||1,320||5,860||4.4|
|Joe Perry^||San Francisco 49ers (1948–1960, 1963)
Baltimore Colts (1961���1962)
|Jim Brown^||Cleveland Browns (1957–1965)||2,359||12,312||5.2|
|Walter Payton^||Chicago Bears (1975–1987)||3,838||16,726||4.4|
|Emmitt Smith^||Dallas Cowboys (1990–2002)
Arizona Cardinals (2003–2004)
- List of National Football League records (individual)
- List of National Football League rushing champions
- List of National Football League career rushing touchdowns leaders
- In 1995, the Los Angeles Rams became known as the St. Louis Rams after the franchise relocated; they returned in 2016.
- Dickerson was traded mid-season in 1987; he played three games for the Rams and nine for the Colts.
- In the 1996 season, George's first, the Tennessee Titans were known as the Houston Oilers; the franchise relocated prior to the commencement of the 1997 season, and were renamed the Titans in 1999.
- Anderson was traded mid-season in 1986; he played four games for the Cardinals and eight for the Giants.
- "NFL History – Rushing Leaders". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- "NFL Rushing Yards Career Leaders". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- "NFL Rushing Yards Career Playoffs Leaders". ProFootballReference.com. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- Frye, Brian (June 28, 2016). "History of the Career Rushing Yards Record". thegridfe.com. GridFe. Retrieved September 25, 2016.
- "Smith's Firm Hold on Coveted Record". Pro Football Hall of Fame. August 1, 2010. Retrieved October 28, 2017.