These ten players have the most all purpose yards in NFL history. All purpose yards means all yards combined from rushing, receiving and returning. For most yards from scrimmage see 10 Players With Most Yards From Scrimmage in NFL History.
1) Jerry Rice – 23,546
Jerry Rice is the all time career leader in all purpose yards with 23,546. Rice is also the all time career leader in yards from scrimmage and receiving yards. Jerry Rice is the greatest receiver of all time and one of the top 5 players in pro football history. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010 and only 6 of his total yards came from returns. Rice won the Super Bowl MVP Award in 1988.
2) Brian Mitchell – 23,316
Brian Mitchell was primarily a kick and punt returner in his 14 year NFL career playing for the Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. Mitchell had 4,999 return yards from punts, 14014 yards from kick returns, 1,967 rushing yards and 2,336 receiving yards.
3) Walter Payton – 21,803
Walter Payton racked up 21,803 yards in his career playing for the Chicago Bears and many people today still wear replicas of his Number 34 Bears jersey.
4) Emmitt Smith – 21,579
Hall of Famer and Super Bowl MVP Emmitt Smith had 21,579 total yards in his great NFL career playing for America’s Team the Dallas Cowboys.
5) Tim Brown – 19,679
Notre Dame product Tim Brown was a great NFL wide receiver with blazing speed and a great punt returner as well playing all but the last year of his career for the Raiders and owner Al Davis.
6) Marshall Faulk – 19,172
League MVP (2000) Marshall Faulk was a threat rushing or receiving the football out of the backfield for the Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Rams in his great career. Faulk was a fantasy football owners dream in his career especially during the 200 and 2001 seasons when he lead the league in touchdowns.
7) Barry Sanders – 18,308
Barry Sanders was a brilliant and fun to watch running back for the Detroit Lions who was another fantasy football dream player for owners as he lead the league four times in rushing and twice in touchdowns scored.
8) Herschel Walker – 18,168
Herschel Walker would rank even higher on the list but he played the first three years of his football career playing for Donald Trump’s New Jersey Generals of the old USFL football league in the Meadowlands Stadium where Walker rushed for 2,411 yards in 1985 which is the highest total ever for a running back in any league. Walker rushed for 5,562 yards and had 1,484 more receiving yards and 69 kick return yards in the USFL and if you add those totals to his NFL totals he racked up 25,283 pro football yards which is 1,737 more yards than Jerry Rice.
9) Marcus Allen – 17,564
Longtime Raider and Kansas City Chief Marcus Allen racked up 17,564 yards in his NFL Hall of Fame career as well as winning the 1983 Super Bowl MVP Award.
10) Curtis Martin – 17,430
Curtis Martin rounds out the top 10 most all purpose yards in NFL history list with 17430 yards. Only three active players could knock Martin off the list in the near future. LaDainian Tomlinson needs 986 more yards, Derrick Mason needs 1,253 yards and Randy Moss needs 2,611 yards. All three have a real chance but probably only Moss has a chance to move well up on the list.