Brown, Sayers and Sanders ended careers early
For three of ESPN.com's top 10 RBs of all time -- Jim Brown, Gale Sayers and Barry Sanders -- their careers ended earlier than many expected.
Gale Sayers and Jim Brown retired before their 30th birthdays. Barry Sanders, who retired days after his 31st birthday, was right behind them.
The premature ends to their NFL careers didn't stop any of the three from making ESPN.com's list of the top 10 running backs in history. Brown topped the list, Sanders was No. 2 and Sayers ranked fifth.
"You think about those three and wonder where all the records would be if they had played well into their 30s," said ...
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BEST RUNNING BACKS
In Part 1 of a two-part report, Scouts Inc. ranks the NFL's top 64 running backs. In Part 2, ESPN.com ranks the top 10 RBs of all time. In the first two presentations of this occasional series, ESPN.com ranked the all-time best QBs in February and the all-time best wide receivers in March.
HOT READ PART 2: All-time best RBs• DISCUSS
• Yasinskas: After Brown, debate gets interesting
• Yasinskas: Three greats who retired early
• SportsNation: Rank the top 10 all-time backs
• Zoom Gallery: From Brown to Dickerson
• Watch: NFL Live debates best ever
HOT READ PART 1: Today's best RBs• DISCUSS
• Scouts rankings: 1-20 | 21-40 | 41-64
• Clayton: Current pool of HOF-caliber RBs
• Hashmarks: Debating the list
• Football Today podcast: Peterson No. 2?
• Watch: NFL Live on who got the shaft
• SportsNation: Rank your top 20
• Zoom Gallery top 10: LT to Lynch
• Todd McShay: Ranking top 10 in college
More coverage• Sando: Julius Jones fueled by recent past
• Chadiha: Five RBs with a lot to prove in '08
• Green: '08 best and worst RB duos
BEST WIDE RECEIVERS OF ALL TIME• Sando: Jerry Rice is No. 1, but who's next?
• Zoom Gallery: Top 10 receivers of all time
• Sando: Who is Don Hutson?
• SportsNation: Wide receiver quiz
• SportsNation: Rank the all-time best
• Luksa: Bob Hayes an overlooked great
• Scouts: Ranking top receivers 1-64
BEST QUARTERBACKS OF ALL TIME• Sando: Brady not best yet, but time on his side
• ZOOM gallery: Top 10 QBs of all time
• Chadiha: Ranking the best QBs by decade
• Best QBs by jersey numbers
• Scouts Inc.: Ranking the top 64 QBs of today
• SportsNation: Rank the greatest QBs | Vote
• Super Bowls: Ranking every QB's performance