The Chiefs have a long and storied history filled with amazing players. Here are the top-five players to ever line up at RB for the Chiefs.
5. Abner Haynes (1960-1964)
After playing five years with the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs (they moved to KC in 1963), Abner Haynes was a huge driving force to the Chiefs’ early success. He made the Pro Bowl three times between 1961-1964 and won multiple other individual awards.
In his prolific 1962 season, he had 1,622 total yards and 19 touchdowns. With over 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards, he was a dual-threat back before it was popular. Haynes made the pro bowl and received an All-Pro nomination that year.
Abner Haynes was insanely valuable in kick-starting the Kansas City Chiefs team into the eventual Super Bowl winners. He wasn’t on the 1969 roster, but his impact still stood strong for the franchise. Haynes was inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 1991.
4. Christian Okoye (1987-1992)
Known for his incredible stature and catchy nickname, Christian Okoye, or “The Nigerian Nightmare” was one of the Chiefs’ best weapons of all time. He had the size to block and the speed to run past defenders. Defenses were terrified for all six of his NFL career seasons.
Okoye had 1,480 rushing yards and averaged 98 yards per game in 1989. If that wasn’t enough, he also scored 12 times that season. Christian Okoye was named an All-Pro for the only time in his career, but who knows how many he could have accumulated if he had gotten into the NFL earlier.
The Kansas City Chiefs honored him in 2000, adding him into the Chiefs Hall of Fame. He will never be forgotten by the fans or by the opponents that had to face him.
3. Larry Johnson (2003-2009)
Johnson’s public perception nowadays is mostly negative due to his Twitter activity, but back in the early 2000s, the dude knew how to play. He was arguably the best running-back between 2005-2006 with two straight 1,700 yard rushing seasons.
During those peak years of his career, he gathered 2 Pro Bowl appearances and an All-Pro selection. The Chiefs garnered some preseason Super Bowl buzz in 2006, but unfortunately, it didn’t come to fruition. Larry Johnson definitely led the Chiefs into a new age of hope nonetheless.
Larry Johnson still holds the Chiefs’ single-season rushing record (1,789), but hopefully, we can see an amazing running-back come along soon that can break that record. Who knows, maybe Clyde Edwards-Helaire will do it next season.
2. Priest Holmes (2001-2007)
The predecessor running-back to Larry Johnson, Priest Holmes was simply amazing in the early 2000s. Between 2001-2003, he was awarded 3 Pro Bowl selections and 3 All-Pro nominations. He wrote the blueprint as to how to succeed and become a great Chiefs running-back.
There was little to no argument in that time period that Holmes was the best running back in the NFL. The only one who could compare was a young NFL great, LaDanian Tomlinson. Tomlinson and Holmes combined for five 2,000 scrimmage yard seasons between 2003-2006.
Many like to call the early 2000s “The Golden Era” of the NFL, and Priest Holmes is a big reason why. He was inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 2014, and his legacy still lives on at Arrowhead Field.
- Jamaal Charles (2008-2016)
Widely regarded as not only the best running-back in Chiefs history, but also arguably the best player in Chiefs history, Jamaal Charles started a new generation of Kansas City Chiefs success. Coming right off of the end of Priest Holmes’s career, Charles had some huge shoes to fill.
In his first three seasons with the Chiefs, he accumulated nearly 4,000 total yards and 17 touchdowns. Needless to say, he filled Priest Holmes’s shoes pretty well, and in some ways did better.
After suffering an injury in 2011, Jamaal Charles came right back into the spotlight with three straight 1,000 yard seasons. He led the Chiefs to the playoffs in 2013, only to fall short to the Colts. He was an icon for the Chiefs in the early 2010s, and the main reason I became a Chiefs fan (yes, I’m that young).
Let’s all hope for many more amazing running-backs to put on the iconic red and white uniforms in the future. With Patrick Mahomes though, I don’t think that will be difficult.