Tennessee Titans: 15 best running backs in franchise history
By Will Lomas
- Best season: 1979
- 1,697 rushing yards, 19 rushing touchdowns
- 94 receiving yards
Who else could it be but “The Pearl” himself?
Say what you want, but I’m not sure if there is a running back in history with a better three-year stretch in his career than how Earl Campbell started his life as an NFL running back.
He was the NFL’s leading rusher in each of his first three years with an average of 1,694 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns over that time. I mean, just the average is more than anyone could hope for in the modern NFL.
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Over the last decade, only three players have had better rushing yards than Campbell’s average stat line and two of them were Titans at some point in their career: DeMarco Murray, Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson.
Maybe the most interesting thing about Campbell is his absolute lack of vanity or at least that is how it appeared. With 10,000 career rushing yards almost a guarantee, Campbell decided to retire instead of playing at anything less than he deemed acceptable.
He retired on his own terms and he did it without sustaining some career-ending injury or just losing his athleticism all together like so many do.
I’ll close this out by listing some of the Pro Football Hall of Famer running back’s most impressive achievements and accolades:
- Five-time Pro Bowler
- Three-time All-Pro
- Pro Football Hall of Famer
- NFL MVP in 1979
- NFL Rookie of the Year in a class with James Lofton, Clay Matthews Jr., John Jefferson and Ozzie Newsome
- Retired numbers for both the Texas Longhorns AND the Titans organization
- Titans Ring of Honor
- Heisman Award Winner in 1977
- NFL 1970s All-Decade Team
Campbell was one of the best to ever play the running back position in both the college level and in the NFL.