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    Best Kansas City Chiefs Running Backs of All Time: From Priest Holmes to Marcus Allen

    The Kansas City Chiefs have a strong lineage of stout running back play, but who are the greatest ever to suit up for the franchise?

    Quarterback play grabs the attention right now when fans think of the Kansas City Chiefs. The franchise, however, has a deep history of stout running back play.

    There were even seasons when the Chiefs were heavily reliant on the ground attack to power their playoff push. It got us thinking about who are the best running backs to ever suit up in Kansas City.

    Ranking the Greatest RBs in Chiefs’ History

    These running backs are the most revered by Chiefs Kingdom. And that includes one who snatched the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year nod during his run with K.C.

    Here are the top five names in franchise history at the position.

    5) Marcus Allen, 1993-1997

    Marcus Allen was 33 years of age, considered way past his prime years, when he arrived in K.C during the historic 1993 offseason, which was the first time unrestricted free agency was introduced across the league.

    The legendary Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders running back, though, proved he could still find the end zone by scoring 12 rushing touchdowns to lead the league in 1993. That production came during a time he formed a rare quarterback/running back tandem with another NFL legend and free agent pickup named Joe Montana.

    Allen never scaled the 1,000-yard mark during his five-season run with the Chiefs. Yet, the Hall of Famer scored seven to 12 touchdowns in four of his five campaigns. And he crossed the end zone 11 times in his final NFL season of 1997.

    For his Chiefs career, Allen tallied 3,698 yards on the ground, including delivering two 800-yard campaigns. He went to the playoffs four times with the franchise.

    4) Christian Okoye, 1987-1992

    The “Nigerian Nightmare” was one of the more frightening sights once a running lane opened up. Opponents saw a monstrous 6’1″, 253-pound locomotive charging full speed ahead.

    Though he was considered a fullback in his era, Okoye is revered for his punishing running style and emerged as the lead back for K.C.

    Die-hard Chiefs fans likely recall his 1989 campaign, which saw Okoye rumble for a league-best 1,480 yards and earned him All-Pro honors.

    Okoye squeezed in one more Pro Bowl nomination in his shortened career, the 1991 season, which saw him run for 1,031 yards and nine touchdowns. He eventually bequeathed RB1 duties to Allen after calling it a career in 1992.

    The native of Enugu, Nigeria, racked up 4,897 rushing yards and 40 career touchdowns. He finished with 6-12 touchdowns in each of his final four seasons. Okoye went on to be enshrined in the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 2000.

    3) Larry Johnson, 2003-2009

    We’ve reached the first RB Chiefs fans have a love/hate relationship with, despite his immense production.

    Johnson endured a rough start after K.C. snatched him at No. 27 overall in the 2003 draft. Then-head coach Dick Vermeil publicly called out Johnson to reporters in 2004 by saying, “Take the diapers off,” referencing Johnson’s attitude. This led to tensions between the Hall of Fame coach and his player.

    The former Penn State running back, though, finished with nine rushing touchdowns that season before his career took off. He posted back-to-back 1,700-yard campaigns in 2005 and 2006 — including leading the league with 416 carries in the latter season. Johnson also tallied 37 total touchdowns in those two breakout years that saw 1,750 and 1,789 yards, respectively.

    However, Johnson never re-captured that form from 2007 to his final Chiefs campaign of 2009. Tensions resurfaced between Johnson and the team when he was caught using homophobic slurs directed at his head coach, Todd Haley, during the ’09 season.

    The team suspended him for “conduct detrimental to the club” on Oct. 28. He was eventually waived before being picked up by the Cincinnati Bengals.

    Johnson’s Chiefs run was also marred with legal issues, including four arrests for assault against women while playing for the franchise

    In the end, Johnson delivered two of the more dominating seasons for a Chiefs running back. He’s only one of three K.C. RBs to surpass 6,000 career yards with 6,015 total — ranking him third in team history.

    2) Jamaal Charles, 2008-2016

    We’re off to the franchise’s all-time leading rusher.

    Charles fell to No. 73 overall in the 2008 NFL Draft out of Texas. But he’ll go down as one of the top non-first-round finds the Chiefs discovered after producing five 1,000-yard campaigns.

    The former Longhorn quickly impacted the Chiefs’ ground attack in his second season in the league, hitting 1,120 yards. He raised the yardage to 1,467 the following year in 2010, which earned him Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors for the first time.

    Charles’ 2011 season got cut short due to a torn ACL, limiting him to only one start and two games of action. But he came back with full steam in 2012, racking up a career-high 1,509 yards and returning to the Pro Bowl.

    Charles later led the NFL with 12 rushing touchdowns in 2013, which earned him his second All-Pro nomination. He squeezed out one more Pro Bowl campaign in 2014, which became his last 1,000-yard season (1,033 yards with nine touchdowns).

    He finished out his career with the Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars. But he ranks No. 1 on the Chiefs’ all-time rushing yards list after accumulating 7,260 yards with the team.

    1) Priest Holmes, 2001-2007

    While Charles ranks as the top rushing leader in franchise history, few running backs delivered the impact Priest Holmes showed during his Kansas City run.

    Holmes exploded by hitting an NFL-best 1,555 yards in his first Chiefs season of ’01. But he was far from finished after earning his first Pro Bowl nod.

    He racked up 1,615 yards the following season and crossed the end zone 21 times to lead the league. Then came his epic 2003 campaign, the one that witnessed Holmes gash defenses with an NFL-high 27 rushing touchdowns while accompanied with 1,420 yards.

    Even at the age of 31, Holmes still proved his nose for the end zone never aged in 2004 — scoring 14 times for his last double-digit touchdown season.

    Before Charles, Holmes cemented himself as the team’s all-time leading rusher. He’s still the owner of the most Chiefs career rushing touchdowns with 76, and total combined touchdowns with 83.

    Holmes has yet to earn his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. However, the Chiefs placed the famed RB into theirs on Nov. 2 of the 2014 season.

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