I'm sure everyone remembers the Nigerian Nightmare Christian Okoye, right? The former Kansas City Chiefs RB carried the ball for six NFL seasons, all with the Chiefs.
He was well-known as a bruising running back at 6'1", 250+ pounds that could withstand a pounding. In 1989, he set a personal high with 370 carries, tops in the NFL that year.
So, Okoye is an expert of sorts on taking a physical pounding as a running back. Here's what he said about another running back who has taken a few licks in his day - San Diego Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson.
"That's not just 3,400 hits," Okoye says of LT's 3,400+ career touches. "Because one touch is equal to about four hits sometimes. If you're an elite running back like LT, you tend to bounce off hits and keep going. And then when you're down, somebody falls on you. One touch is equal to five hits."
Okoye knows about bouncing off hits and continuing on.
He averaged over four yards per carry in four of his first five seasons, including a career high 4.6 yards per carry on 225 carries in 1991. There's a reason his nickname includes "nightmare" in it.
As impressive as Okoye was in his brief NFL career, he was no LT, who has regularly received 300+ carries and 50+ receptions.
LT and Okoye have had completely different careers. In fact, LT's career is not the way most running backs end up. He's been ultra-productive for a long, long time. The average NFL running back has a career more like Okoye - brief, marked by one to two big seasons and a fast decline.