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No NFL team has more 1,000-yard rushers than Buffalo

By Tim Graham

When C.J. Spiller reached 1,000 yards Sunday, an announcement was made in the Rogers Centre press box that he was the 12th player in Buffalo Bills history to do it.

A dozen different players sounded like a lot to me.

That's because it is. A look at each NFL team's list of 1,000-yard rushers further illustrates the Bills' infatuation with drafting transient running backs while ignoring other needs.

Of the dozen players who've rushed for 1,000 yards for the Bills, only two -- Cookie Gilchrist and Fred Jackson -- weren't first- or second-round draft choices. All 12 began their careers with the Bills. Addressing the position through free agency apparently isn't an option.

Five of those players have been on the roster within the past nine years. Three of them were on the team at the same time in 2010.

Buffalo's 1,000-yard rushers (with number of seasons they went over):

  • * Greg Bell (1)
  • * Joe Cribbs (3)
  • * Cookie Gilchrist (1)
  • * Travis Henry (2)
  • * Fred Jackson (1)
  • * Marshawn Lynch (2)
  • * Willis McGahee (2)
  • * Terry Miller (1)
  • * O.J. Simpson (5)
  • * Antowain Smith (1)
  • * C.J. Spiller (1)
  • * Thurman Thomas (8)

Not even the NFL's grandfatherly franchises have as many players who have rushed for 1,000 yards. The Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins are at 11. The New York Giants have had nine. The Green Bay Packers have had eight.

Those that have had two 1,000-yard rushers in the same season -- Cleveland Browns nine, Miami Dolphins eight, Pittsburgh Steelers seven -- aren't relatively close.

Only the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots also have 12.

The Broncos cycled through late-round draft choices and free agents under Mike Shanahan in the 1990s and early 2000s. Terrell Davis and Mike Anderson were sixth-round draft choices. Sammy Winder was a fifth-rounder. Olandis Gary a fourth-rounder.

The Patriots drafted only four of theirs inside the first two rounds. BenJarvus Green-Ellis wasn't drafted at all. Two were free agents: Corey Dillon and former Bills first-rounder Antowain Smith.

Here's the franchise rundown ...

12: Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots.

11: Chicago Bears, St. Louis/Los Angeles/Cleveland Rams, Washington Redskins.

10: Atlanta Falcons, Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers.

9: Arizona/St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants.

8: Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

7: Indianapolis/Baltimore Colts, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers.

6: New Orleans Saints, New York Jets.

5: Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks.

4: Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers.

3: Houston Texans.

2: Jacksonville Jaguars.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |