Over the course of his career, RB LaDainian Tomlinson has been one of the NFL's premier offensive players. First with the Chargers and now with the Jets, Tomlinson is a threat both carrying the ball out of the backfield and as a receiver. He is third all-time with 161 touchdowns, which includes a single-season-record 31 TDs in 2006.
Tomlinson is also moving up another all-time list. After more than a decade of running around defenders and catching passes behind them, including eight seasons with more than 1,000 rushing yards and six years with more than 400 receiving yards, L.T. is near the top of the all-time list in yards from scrimmage.
With 60 yards vs. the Patriots in Week 10, Tomlinson has 18,206 career yards from scrimmage, just passing Barry Sanders for fifth all-time on the list. WR Jerry Rice holds the top spot with 23,540 yards during his Hall of Famer career. Also in front of Tomlinson are a trio of Hall of Fame running backs — Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton and Marshall Faulk.
L.T. isn't the only player in the league now who has had this type of durability and production throughout his career, however. Here are the six active players trailing Tomlinson on the yards-from-scrimmage list.
Note: All yardage totals through Week 10.
Tony Gonzalez / 12,964 yards — The highest-ranking tight end on the all-time yardage list, Gonzalez has been an impact player in the NFL from the moment he was drafted. In 12 seasons with the Chiefs, Gonzalez eclipsed 800 receiving yards nine times, including a career-high 1,258 yards in 2004. He has added 14 rushing yards. Now on the Falcons, the key to the 11-time Pro Bowler's success is not only his speed, size and strong hands, it's also his health, as he has missed only two games since being drafted in 1997.
Hines Ward / 12,398 yards — With Terrell Owens and Randy Moss not on active rosters, Ward has the most yards from scrimmage among active receivers. Ward has six 1,000-yard receiving seasons and has been very durable throughout his career, missing six career games. He has 428 rushing yards, although he has only two carries in the past four seasons. Even with the Steelers getting more weapons and Ward getting up there in age, he still had 755 receiving yards last season.
Ricky Williams / 12,355 yards — As the highest-ranked running back after Tomlinson, it can be easy to forget how productive Williams was earlier in his career, considering he did not play in 2006 and played in only one game in '07. He had four consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons from 2000-03, including a league-high 1,853 rushing yards in '02. Williams has been an effective receiver throughout his career. In that 2000-03 span, Williams never had fewer than 44 catches in a season. He had a career-high 60 catches for 511 yards in '01.
Thomas Jones / 12,306 yards — In 12 NFL seasons, Jones has played for five teams and made only one Pro Bowl roster. Yet in those same seasons, Jones has been one of the more consistent players in the entire league. Seven times he has had more than 200 rushing attempts in a season, and that consistency has been a main reason why he has more than 10,000 career rushing yards. Jones also has more than 300 career receptions, and his toughness with the ball in his hands has made the veteran runner difficult to bring down both off handoffs and catches.
Derrick Mason / 12,064 yards — Mason is on this list solely for his receiving output throughout his 15-year career. He has missed only six games in his career, including playing in every game from 2003-10. Mason was fifth in the league in '03 with 1,303 receiving yards, one of eight seasons with more than 1,000 receiving yards. As a 36-year-old last season, Mason had 61 catches for 802 yards.
Steven Jackson / 11,443 yards — After backing up Marshall Faulk as a rookie, Jackson has proven to be a perfect replacement in the Rams' backfield. In seven seasons as a full-time starter, the back has gained more than 1,200 yards from scrimmage six times and is on pace to top that mark again this season. His best campaign came in 2006, when he ran for 1,528 yards and added 806 receiving yards. The 2,334 total yards ranks sixth in NFL history.
PFW associate editor Eli Kaberon contributed to this article.