Tomlinson said on NFL Network that Emmitt Smith’s all-time record of 18,355 yards will never be broken. It wasn’t broken by Tomlinson, who retired with 13,684 yards, and he says it won’t be broken by Gore, who has 15,347 yards, or by Peterson, who has 14,216 yards.
“No one will ever break this record,” Tomlinson said. “There’s not enough opportunities that running backs will get. We know the shelf life is a lot shorter for running backs. I just don’t see guys getting a lot of opportunities. That’s a lot of yards for a guy to amass and I just don’t think it’s going to happen.”
Given the way the game has changed, Tomlinson is probably right. Last year, Derrick Henry led the NFL with 303 rushing attempts. Smith had more than 303 rushing attempts in seven different seasons of his career. NFL running backs just don’t pile up carries like Smith did, and until that changes, Smith’s record appears safe.