It is a historic time in the AFC West. The release of San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson is a big deal.
Yes, we knew it was coming, and yes, Tomlinson is no longer a top back, but his departure from San Diego has to be a time of reflection. To mark Tomlinson’s release, I’m listing my top five running backs who spent the bulk of their career in the AFC West:
1. LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego: This is not a courtesy pick. Tomlinson was a dominant player. He compiled 12,490 rushing yards in nine seasons. He is eighth on the NFL’s all-time rushing list. He is among the league leaders on several other record lists. In his prime, he was among the best players in the league. He’s the best running back ever to play in this division.
2. Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders and Kansas City: Allen was a special player, especially for the Raiders. He was a key to a Raiders Super Bowl team and he was a game changer. His 12,243 career rushing yards are 12th on the league’s all-time list.
3. Terrell Davis, Denver: Davis only played from 1995-2001 in a career that was cut short by injuries, but he made the most of it. He had 7,607 career rushing yards. He was a catalyst to Denver’s two Super Bowl championships. When he was in his prime, Davis was unstoppable.
4. Floyd Little, Denver: Little was just elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He played in Denver from 1967-75. He played on several bad teams, but Little was a workhorse who was deserving of his enshrinement in Canton.
5. Priest Holmes, Kansas City: Holmes played in Kansas City from 2001-07. He was dominant in his first three seasons in Kansas City before injuries plagued him. He is the team leader in career rushing yards with 5,933.