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NFL All-Time Sack Leaders
The sack did not become an official statistic until 1982, so there are many players from the early decades of the NFL, particularly those great Steelers teams of the ‘70’s that would have made this list. But that’s not to say the Top 5 all-time in sacks were not great players. Here is that list:
Bruce Smith (200)—Bruce Smith was arguably the greatest pass rusher of all-time, and his NFL-leading 200 career sacks would be just the evidence to argue in Smith’s favor. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009, and Smith had a long and illustrious career with Buffalo and Washington from 1985 to 2003. He was a part of those Bills teams that made the Super Bowl four straight seasons in the early ’90’s. Smith had an astounding 13 seasons with double-digit sacks, and he made the Pro Bowl 11 times, all with Buffalo, including eight times as a first team All Pro. Smith’s best season was 1990, when he had a career high 19 sacks to go along with 101 total tackles and 4 forced fumbles.
Reggie White (198)—Reggie White also had a long and illustrious career, from 1985 to 2000 with the Eagles, Packers and Panthers. White is a Hall of Famer as well, with 198 career sacks to rank second in NFL history, and he made the Pro Bowl 13 times out of 15 seasons, eight of those as a first team All Pro. White led the NFL in sacks twice, with a career high 21 of them in 1987, and 18 in 1988. His best season was 1987, when, along with the 21 sacks, White forced four fumbles and returned one of them 76 yards for a touchdown. White sadly passed away in 2004 at the age of 43 from a heart attack.
Kevin Greene (160)—Kevin Greene played for fifteen seasons, from 1985 to 1999, with four teams—the L.A. Rams, Steelers, Panthers and 49ers. Greene ranks third in NFL history with 160 career sacks, with 10 seasons in double digits, and leading the league twice, in 1994 (14) and 1996 (14.5). Greene made the Pro Bowl five times, two as a first team All Pro, and his best season was probably 1989 with the Rams, when he tied a career best with 16.5 sacks, forced 3 fumbles and had 64 tackles.
Chris Doleman (150.5)—Chris Doleman also played in the NFL from 1985 to 1999, and he ranks fourth in league history with 150.5 total sacks. Doleman played for the Vikings, Falcons and 49ers and made the Pro Bowl 8 times, twice as a first team All Pro. His best season was 1989, when Doleman led the league with a career high 21 sacks, with 94 tackles and 5 forced fumbles.
Michael Strahan (141.5)—Michael Strahan played for the New York Giants his entire career, from 1993 to 2007, and capped it off by helping his team win a Super Bowl. Strahan ranks fifth in NFL history with 141.5 total sacks, and he holds the single season record of 22.5, set in 2001. Strahan made the Pro Bowl seven times, four of those as a first team All Pro, and his best season was 2001. That year, to go along with the 22.5 sacks, Strahan had 62 tackles and 6 forced fumbles, one of which he returned for his only career touchdown.