Ranking the top 5 running backs in Washington Commanders franchise history

Honoring the best running backs throughout the Washington Commanders' storied franchise history.
Clinton Portis
Clinton Portis / Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
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While the Washington Commanders were generally an NFL after-thought during much of the turbulent tenure of disgraced former owner Dan Snyder, the franchise still boasts an extremely rich tradition filled with a long list of legendary players.

Some of the most memorable stars in the Washington Commanders' storied history have played running back - a position currently under the microscope as many of the NFL's top rushers struggle to attain what they deem as fair compensation in the current market landscape.

The running back spot has diminished in value dramatically over the past few decades. Lead rushers were once the main focal point of every NFL offense, which isn't the case anymore.

As the league has shifted toward an increasingly pass-heavy style, running backs have become much more specialized. NFL teams now typically utilize a committee approach, with the three-down bell cow backs becoming exceedingly rare in the modern game.

With running back value dominating much of the 2023 offseason conversation, there isn't a better time to take a look back through history at some of the most decorated runners to ever don the Burgundy and Gold.

Honorable Mentions

Alfred Morris - Former Commanders RB

In 64 games in Washington, the former sixth-round selection from Florida Atlantic averaged a respectable 4.4 yards per carry to go with a robust 73.6 rushing yards per game for his career.

Earning the starting job as a rookie in 2012, Alfred Morris set the now-Commanders single-season rushing record after amassing 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns out of the backfield during his first pro campaign.

Morris rushed for a total of 4,713 yards and 29 touchdowns over four productive years as Washington's surprise starter. He remains a fan favorite for his efforts on and off the field.

Earnest Byner - Former Commanders RB

While many remember Earnest Byner as the culprit of "The Fumble" in the Cleveland Browns' heartbreaking loss in the 1987 AFC Championship game, the bruising back also spent five seasons as Washington's starting tailback and enjoyed the best stint of his career in the nation's capital.

Byner accumulated over 1,000 total yards from scrimmage in each of his five years in Washington as a devastating dual threat as both a runner and pass catcher out of the backfield.

The electric playmaker earned two Pro Bowls during his time in D.C., racking up 3,950 yards and 25 scores rushing over 80 games played.

Others receiving votes: Terry Allen, Rob Goode, Andy Farkas, Mike Thomas.