On the eve of LaDainian Tomlinson’s retirement announcement, SI’s Peter King named his top-five most versatile runners of the last 30 years. Declaring Walter Payton just outside the time period, King selected Marshall Faulk, Tomlinson, Thurman Thomas, Darren Sproles, and Marcus Allen as his most versatile running backs since 1982.
There are many ways to quibble with his list, but let’s turn this into a bit of trivia. Defining versatile is subjective, but for purposes of this trivia question, I’ll define versatile as any season by a running back where he:
- Caught at least 50 passes
- Gained at least 1400 yards from scrimmage
- Averaged at least 4.5 yards per carry
Tomlinson (4), Faulk (3) and Thomas (2) each had multiple seasons where they reached all three bench marks. Marcus Allen did it once, in 1985; Sproles has never done it (he had only 1313 yards from scrimmage last year, a career high).
Tomlinson ranks 2nd over the past 30 years in most “versatile” seasons. But one running back reached all three benchmarks in six different seasons. Can you guess who?