If you hear anyone talk about the Chiefs 2010 season, odds are they will mention running back Jamaal Charles. After being named the FedEx Ground Player of the Year and being put on the All-Pro team, Charles definitely deserves the attention.
Some of the attention, though, may be a bit premature.
While Charles is set to bust open the Chiefs record books at his current pace, he will have his work cut out for him when it comes time to name the best running backs in team history.
Kansas City has a storied history of running backs, dating back to the first AFL season.
There are a thousand different ways to calculate the top running back of all time and 10,000 different fans who will argue with your choice. While everyone may have their own choices for the best Chiefs’ running backs in history, no one can argue that these seven are not amongst the best.
Kansas City drafted Mike Garrett in 1966, the year after his Heisman trophy winning season at USC. That season, Garrett played a pivotal role for the Chiefs, being named to the AFL all-star team as the Chiefs played their way into the first ever Super Bowl.
Garrett would be named to the AFL all-star team again in 1967, rushing for 1,087 yards and nine touchdowns, while receiving 261 yards. He would also help the Chiefs to their only Super Bowl title in 1969 before being traded to the San Diego Chargers midway through the 1970 season.
Garrett ended his career with 5,481 yards, 3,246 of those coming with the Chiefs.
Curtis McClinton became an immediate impact player for the Kansas City Chiefs from the day he was drafted in 1962. That year, McClinton was named the AFL rookie of the year, gaining 604 yards on the ground and 333 through the air, enough to send him to one of his three AFL All-Star teams.
McClinton finished his career after the Chiefs Super Bowl victory in 1969 with 3,124 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground, adding almost 2,000 more receiving yards. McClinton even showed his versatility, playing as the backup tight end in Super Bowl IV.
There are very few players as disliked in Kansas City as Larry Johnson. Despite all of his off the field problems, though, Johnson showed results.
In seven seasons with the Chiefs, Johnson rushed for 6,015 yards, scoring 55 touchdowns, most of that coming in two successful seasons. If Johnson had not been suspended and subsequently released in 2009, he would have become the all-time Chiefs rushing leader, falling only 55 yards short of Priest Holmes’ record.
Ed Podolak was the definition of reliability in his nine seasons with the Chiefs.
Arriving in 1969, Podolak rushed for over 500 yards five of the nine seasons he spent in Kansas City, as well as receiving more than 300 yards in six of those seasons. Podolak also made his impact on special teams, returning punts and kickoffs.
Over the course of his career, Podolak rushed for 4,451 yards, never gaining more than 750 in a season. With the addition of his 2,456 receiving yards and return yardage, Podolak retired with the second most combined yards in team history.
Christian Okoye may have had a short career in Kansas City, but in that time, Okoye became the Chiefs leading rusher of all time.
Known as the Nigerian Nightmare, Okoye was a powerful runner, able to run through opposing defenses. Playing only six seasons, Okoye gained 4,897 yards on the ground, setting the Chiefs career record at the time before retiring due to injuries and a general disinterest in playing.
Twice rushing over 1,000 yards, Okoye also scored 40 touchdowns, making him the Chiefs’ main offensive producer in the late '80s and early '90s.
Priest Holmes came to the Chiefs in 2001 as a free agent when the Baltimore Ravens decided he was not a starting running back. What followed proved this to be one of the best free agent signings in NFL history.
Holmes rushed for 4,590 in the first three seasons with the team, scoring 56 touchdowns. Though injured much of the four seasons with the Chiefs, Holmes became the Chiefs all-time rushing leader with 6,070 yards in Kansas City.
While Holmes may have the record for most rushing yards in Kansas City, no one was as productive all around as Abner Haynes.
In 1960, Haynes became the first ever AFL player of the year, as well as taking home rookie of the year honors for the Dallas Texans. Making the move with the Chiefs before the 1963 season, Haynes set the record for most combined yards with 8,442 yards before ending his career with the Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets.
Haynes was as productive of a player as anyone could hope for, averaging 4.5 yards per carry as well as 12.3 yards per reception.
The Chiefs honored Haynes by retiring his No. 28 and electing him into the Kansas City hall of fame, recognizing him as one of the most productive Chiefs in history.