Top 5 All Time: Kansas City Chiefs Running Backs

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Stan Liu-USA TODAY Sports

As we approach the 2014 Draft, instead of going the usual “Who the Chiefs should draft” route, I am going to do a series of Top Five Chiefs Players of all time.

This week I have chosen to focus on Chiefs running backs. So without further ado here are my Top Five Chiefs Running Backs of all time.

5. Christian “The Nigerian Nightmare” Okoye

Christian Okoye

Probably one of the most physical back to ready wear the Red and Gold. Known for not letting opposing defenses bring him down, Okoye was a big fast running back. Paving the way for big and fast running backs making their way into the NFL. Okoye’s best season came in 1989 where he rushed 370 times for a league leading 1,480 yards.

Though he was considered a project when he was drafted he is still to this day considered to be one of the best and is still talked about whenever running backs and Chiefs are in the same sentence. The motherland ( had a great video on Okoye and you can watch that here.

4. Larry Johnson

Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs

Now while Larry Johnson might not be the most popular choice to be on this list. One cannot take away what he did in the running game for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Johnson is the only player in Chiefs history to rush for over 1,700 yards in back-to-back seasons. Now I admit I was happy to see the man cut before he could break the all-time Chiefs rushing record, still one can’t overlook what he was able to do between the tackles, despite his extremely flawed character issues.

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Tags: Christian Okoye Jamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs Larry Johnson Marcus Allen Priest Holmes

  • tm1946

    Like it. Got to mention Mike Garret. He was there in the glory year, worth remembering.

  • Anthony Poole

    Not necessarily saying that he belongs on the list, but Ed Podolak was an amazing Chief in so many ways! A great multi-purpose back with a heart of iron! He had no problem giving his body up for the game. On another note, even though I agree that Holmes is for now #1 ahead of Charles, there’s no question he played behind a much better OL that certainly didn’t hurt his goal line reputation. But that aside, he was a joy to watch every time he got on the field.

  • Brad Thornbury

    There is no list that should ever put Larry Johnson ahead of Joe Delaney.

    • Chris Tarrants

      I really don’t understand all the hate that Johnson gets? Please somebody fill me in! He held out, and then used some unkind words to describe Todd Haley? In hindsight he was correct, maybe he could have used ” overbearing douchebag” instead of ” fa***t” to describe Haley. I’m serious though what is it? I seriously must have missed something a few years back because to this day I still miss watching LJ break off 10 yarders like clockwork

      • Daniel Mayfield

        From what I remember, and was told, he was bad with a few guys in the locker room and I was thinking he said Todd was gay and, I might have the wrong words, “hitting on him and a few other teammates”. I might be wrong though.
        I will say, he had a bad attitude at that time.
        Maybe with a good QB, he might have been better. He might have gotten frustrated with how the seasons were going after Montana retired and Green went down….whoever they had before his bad season came up. He should have just went to Anger Management for an Attitude Adjustment. lol

        • KCMikeG

          Don’t forget “DiaperGate” with Vermeil. He was a baby about Priest which is sacrilegious. Plus he was an abuser of women and quitter after getting paid. Not saying he didn’t put up the stats – he was just miles short of being a Chief.

          • Daniel Mayfield

            I didn’t know he had any problems while he was the backup for Holmes. I thought they were both great on the team. I guess it was just on the field.

            Heck, everybody had a problem Vermeil while he was the HC. Now, he’s on Sports Center all the time. Back then, they even talked about how KC needed someone else

      • Patrick Allen

        He is an alleged women-beater. Knocking women down, spitting drinks in their face. Remember all those arrests?

    • Daniel Mayfield

      Before he got that bad attitude, johnson was great. His strength he had and the power to explode with speed. Knocking players down and then using the speed to out run defenders made him a great RB…..but after a few yrs, 3 or 4, his character caught up with him.
      If he would have left that behind, he would probably have a huge amount of yards for Charles to catch up to. I remember the last season Johnson played with KC, he just didn’t “care to carry”. He would go down after 2 or 3 yards easily.
      Before then, I really liked him as the RB and was hoping he would keep putting up numbers since Holmes went down. (Probably because at that age, Johnson was special to me cause it was a family name lol)

  • Nick Breshears

    Christian okoye b4 LJ

  • Stacy D. Smith

    Priest at #1′s basically all I care about. Good work, Nick!

    • Patrick Allen

      If he stays healthy, JC may well catch Priest.

      • Stacy D. Smith

        Charles will become the franchise’s all-time leading rusher in 2014. He only needs about 250 yards. It’ll take a while for him to actually catch Priest in my book though. Up until 2013, he had never been much of a scorer. That’s as important as my regard for Holmes as anything else.

        • Patrick Allen

          Yeah but I feel like he didn’t score because Haley and Romeo refused to give him the dang ball in goal to go situations. Everyone goes on about Bowe having all those TDs in 2010, it was because Haley used Charles to get the team down the field and then he inflated Cassel and Bowe’s numbers down there by always throwing for the score. It drove me nuts. Then everyone thought Cassel was great and pointed out his TD ratio but he got all of that because of all the red zone passing plays Haley called. JC scores when he gets the ball down there and Reid actually gave it to him. I look for those numbers to go up.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            I don’t blame him for not being a more prolific scorer, but it’s just like anything else. We can only go on what did happen. If he continues to score often under Reid, he’ll eventually replace Holmes.

          • Patrick Allen

            Man, I sure did love watching Priest run. Due was so patient.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Yeah he was. My favorite Chief of all-time bar none.

  • Michael Lizalde

    I agree with the list, just not the entire order. I would go 1. Holmes. 2. Allen, 3. Johnson. 4. Charles. 5. Nigerian Nightmare. Even though I’m glad LJ got cut before he broke the record, we can’t forget that he was a scoring machine too. Charles will soon be #1 overall as I feel he is just now starting to come into his own. LJ ended up being right about Haley just like Vermiel ended up being right about LJ. Still haven’t removed those diapers!

  • KCMikeG

    With you 80%. Just won’t put LJ on top 5 All-time. I’ll take Podolak or Haynes All day long. Or Garrett or McNight or any other great RB who brought pride to wearing the Red and Gold.

    • oldchiefsfan

      I think Podolak should be there instead of LJ

  • chuck from ID

    #1Holmes for same reasons above
    #2 Nigerian Nightmare was one of the best power backs to ever play also not too many players can say they out rushed Barry Sanders in a season and would probably be #1 if he would have played longer
    #3 Charles will be #1 enough said
    #4 Allen why so low Allen was a great in KC but he was unbelievable in LA
    #5 Kimble Anders was technically a FB but was an unbelievable receiving back and very underrated also couldn’t get myself to put LJ here thought about Barry Word decided not too include any back back before 85 didn’t want to base my list with just stats

  • Stan Colbert

    Wow, tough choices! KC has always had great RBs! Joe Delaney was an amazing talent in so many ways, hard to leave him off any RB list!

  • freshmeat62

    What, no Paul Palmer???

    I think I’d put Charles ahead of Holmes now. Priest got to run behind one of, if not the best O-lines in Chiefs history. Charles pretty much has had to do it all on his own. Okoye would be 3rd, Allen 4th, and LJ 5th, but barely. Podolak contributed more longer, and Haynes I never saw play.

  • P Heitman

    Where’s Rashan Sheehee on this list? Baloney.

  • e_racer

    I would love to see Jamaal Charles go into the Hall of Fame as a Chief. However, there are a couple of factors that may preclude this from happening. First, his contract is coming up, and it is entirely possible that the Chiefs will not be able to afford to pay him what he may require. Second, due to a delayed start, and a costly injury, Charles is behind the pace necessary to get into the hall of fame. Right now Jamaal Charles is a very good running back, but he is not in the category of H of F. He needs to stay healthy, and remain productive for at least three or four more seasons before we can discuss his immortality status. Eight other running backs were taken in the 2008 draft before the Chiefs called Jamaal Charles’ name. Of those players, Forte, Rice, and Johnson have joined Charles as Pro Bowl contestants. Ray Rice, Chris Johnson, and Matt Forte all have more combined yards for their career. Jamaal will probably surpass Priest Holmes, if he can put together two more good seasons.