With the recent announcement of Priest Holmes as the next inductee in the Chiefs Hall of Fame, we figured it was time for our next installment of our Mt. Rushmore series. We polled social media to determine the Chiefs best four running backs and the results are in. The first three were pretty easy, but the fourth was more difficult.
Priest Holmes (2001-2007): The newest member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame, Holmes flourished in Dick Vermeil’s offense and turned into an absolute steal when the Chiefs picked him up from Baltimore to be KC’s version of Marshall Faulk. Holmes is the Chiefs all-time leading rusher (6,070), is second in carries (1321), first in rushing TD (76) – and its not even close – and yards per game (93.4). He has two of the four season’s in franchise history averaging more than 100 yards per game for a season – 115.4 in 14 games in 2002 and 111.5 in half a season (8) two seasons later. He has three 1,000-yard seasons and led the team in rushing four times, only Ed Podolak has done it more times (5). He also owns three of the top eight rushing seasons in franchise history. His 27 rushing TD in 2003 were a then-NFL record. He also has the second most TD in a season (21) in 2002 and fifth best (14) in 2004 in just eight games. The three-time Pro-Bowler also has three 600-yard rushing season (2001-2003), topping 2,000 total yards twice. His 74 catches in 2003 are the most by a running back in franchise history.
An unanimous selection.
In case you forgot how awesome he was, here’s a refresher:
Jamaal Charles (2008-current)
The three-time Pro-Bowler, two-time All-Pro, has 1,000-yard seasons in his four years as a starter (he had just 15 carries in 2011, via injury) and is the only Chief RB to have four 1,000 yard seasons – leading the team in rushing all four years. He is just a few games away from gaining the 248 yards needed to surpass Holmes as the franchise’s all-time leading rusher and his 5.6 career yards per carry is one of the best ever in league history. He also owns four of the six longest runs in franchise history and is one of just two running backs with two carries longer than 80 yards. When he breaks the franchise rushing record, he’ll be around 250 carries behind Holmes. Impressive. He has the No. 5, 7, 9, 11 single-season rushing seasons while receiving fewer carries than the other four on this list per season.
Charles has three games with 226 yards or more; all inside the Top 36 in NFL history. The most memorable is the 259-yard game on the last game of the season of the 2009-2010 in a blowout in Denver ending the Broncos playoff chances…and he didn’t play in the fourth quarter. Should have went for the record!
Also, an unanimous selection.
Oh…and then there is this:
Larry Johnson (2003-2009)
“LJ” is not a fan favorite, and as a result, he was not a unanimous choice. Saying his name around Chiefs fan is like talking about their momma’s…But, his stats are unreal and speak for themselves. After Dick Vermeil said in a presser it was time for LJ to “take the diapers off,” he came out of nowhere in 2005 when Holmes was injured halfway through the season and ran angry – for 1,750 yards and 20 TD despite starting just nine games. He continued that the next season, leading the NFL with 416 carries and ran for a franchise record 1,789 yards and added 17 TD. You could argue he was the benefactor of a dominant offensive line, but he owns the top two rushing seasons in KC history and has two of the four seasons averaging 100+ yards per game. He then got his big contract and turned into a real asshole. Now, five years later, he is a part-time DJ at a gay strip club, but is the franchise’s second leading rusher, leading the team in rushing four times in a row – four years in a row after Holmes had did the same, followed by Charles leading the team four times in the next five years.
Christian Okoye (1987-1992)
The “Nigerian Nightmare” only has 2 1,000-yard seasons (1989 & 1991) but he did lead the team in rushing four times (1987-89, 1991) and is No. 4 on the franchise’s career rushing list (4,897). He is also third in attempts (1,246), fourth in TD (40) and fifth in yards per game (65.3) – quite the drop off from Holmes (93.4), Johnson (80.2) and Charles (72.8). Known for his bruising running style, the 6-1, 260-pounder, 2-time Pro-Bowler was also a track star before the NFL and he could run. His best season came in 1989 when he named AFC Offensive MVP after running for a league-best 1,480 yards with 12 TD and averaged 98.7 yards per game. Okoye, who like Holmes had his career cut short with injuries, also ran for 1,000 yards (1,031) in 1991.
And how badass did he look with that awesome cowboy collar neckroll?
Honorable Mention: Ed Podolak, Mike Garrett, Marcus Allen, Joe Delaney, Abner Hayes