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NFL Rushing Yardage Leaders By Year—2000s

Updated on March 6, 2013

LaDainian Tomlinson

Shaun Alexander

Jamal Lewis


Guys named LT and Shaun are not the only ones who have led the NFL in rushing yards the last few years. Here is a complete list of leaders in that category for NFL running backs in the current decade:

2007-LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers (1474)

As great a career as "LT" has had at such a young age, including breaking the mark for rushing touchdowns in 2006 with 28, San Diego's star running back didn't lead the NFL in rushing yards until 2006. And then he followed that up by leading again in 2007 with 1474 yards. Tomlinson carried 315 times for the 1474 yards, with 15 TDs. He also caught 60 passes for 475 yards and 3 more TDs as a receiver.

2006-LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers (1815)

LT was almost unstoppable in 2006, breaking the record for single season rushing TDs, but he also had a great year yardage-wise. Tomlinson carried 348 times for 1815 yards and an astounding 28 touchdowns. He added another 508 yards and 3 TDs out of the backfield in leading the Chargers to a 14-2 record.

2005-Shaun Alexander, Seattle Seahawks (1880)

The Seahawks had a magical season in 2005 that culminated with a Super Bowl berth against Pittsburgh. Part of the reason for the great year was running back Shaun Alexander, who carried 370 times for an NFL-leading 1880 yards and 27 touchdowns. The rushing TDs tied Priest Holmes' league record set in 2003.

2004-Curtis Martin, New York Jets (1697)

In his next-to-last season as a pro, Jets' running back Curtis Martin put together one of his best seasons in 2004. Martin carried 371 times for a career high and league-leading 1697 yards, and had 12 touchdowns. He also caught 41 passes for another 245 yards and 2 TDs out of the backfield.

2003-Jamal Lewis, Baltimore Ravens (2066)

Trailing only Eric Dickerson's 2105 yards in 1984, Baltimore running back Jamal Lewis had the second best rushing yardage total in NFL history in 2003, with 2066 yards. Lewis carried 387 times, with a career-high 14 touchdowns. He also caught 26 passes for another 205 yards as a receiver.

2002-Ricky Williams, Miami Dolphins (1853)

Though his NFL career has been shortened by injuries and drug problems, Ricky Williams put together an incredible season in 2002. That year, the Dolphins' running back carried 383 times for 1853 yards and 16 TDs. Williams added 47 receptions for 363 yards and 1 receiving touchdown.

2001-Priest Holmes, Kansas City Chiefs (1555)

After coming over from the Baltimore Ravens after the 2000 season, Chiefs' running back Priest Holmes got behind that big KC offensive line and had a monster year in 2001. Holmes carried 327 times for 1555 yards and 8 touchdowns. He added 62 receptions for 414 yards and 2 more TDs out of the backfield.

2000-Edgerrin James, Indianapolis Colts (1709)

In his second straight year leading the NFL in rushing yardage, Colts' running back Edgerrin James led with a career-high 1709 yards on 387 carries, with 13 touchdowns. James played on some great Colts' offenses led by QB Peyton Manning, and in that 2000 season also caught 63 passes for 594 yards and 5 receiving TDs.


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