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10 leading rushers in AFC North history

Since the current AFC North was formed in 2002, what players have rushed for the most yards?

Super Bowl XLIII - Pittsburgh Steelers v Arizona Cardinals

In 2002 when the NFL added their 32nd team of the Houston Texans, the current divisional lineups were set with each conference having four divisions of four teams. For the AFC North, the grouping of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, and Cleveland Browns was born. In the 21 seasons of the AFC North, the Pittsburgh Steelers have won the division nine times with the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals each winning six times.

But since the formation of the AFC North, which player has rushed for the most yards?

Last week I posed the question about the 10 quarterbacks with the most wins in the AFC North.

Just to clarify, these statistics are from regular season games with a player on one of the AFC North teams against any opponent. Players who were on multiple AFC North teams had their combined yardages.

Here are the 10 players in order:

1. Jamal Lewis, BAL/CLE (8 seasons): 9,243
2. Nick Chubb, CLE (5 seasons): 6,341
3. Ray Rice, BAL (6 seasons): 6,180
4. Rudi Johnson, CIN (6 seasons): 5,742
5. LeVeon Bell, PIT/BAL (6 seasons): 5,419
t-6. Joe Mixon, CIN (6 seasons): 5,378
t-6. Willie Parker, PIT (6 seasons): 5,378
8. Lamar Jackson, BAL (5 seasons): 4,437
9. Cedric Benson, CIN (4 seasons): 4,176
10. Giovani Bernard, CIN (8 seasons): 3,697

Despite playing for two different AFC North teams, Jamal Lewis would have led this list with just his five seasons in Baltimore where he totaled 6,437 yards. But when adding his 2,806 yards from Cleveland, he ran away with first place. Nick Chubb is close to passing the top spot if only taking into account totals from one team, but would need a few more years to pass Lewis altogether.

Le’Veon Bell would have been in the seventh spot if it were just for his total in Pittsburgh. But the 83 yards rushing Bell head with Baltimore pushed him up to number five.

What is surprising is that when it comes to numbers in the thousands there was still a tie in the top 10. Although it won’t stay that way for long, both Joe Mixon and Willie Parker have exactly 5,378 rushing yards in six seasons in the AFC North.

I don’t know if it’s all that surprising, but not every player on the list was a running back. In five seasons Lamar Jackson has enough rushing yards to land him in the eighth spot despite missing a number of games.

The last player on the list in Giovani Bernard did so due to the large number of seasons he had in Cincinnati despite often not being their first option. And for those who are curious, Rashard Mendenhall was the next player on the list with 3,549 rushing yards in five seasons.

So how many players on this list would you have been able to name? Are there any surprises or someone you possibly would not have remembered? Make sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below.