The greatest receiver in NFL history not named Jerry Rice

Marvin Harrison has been a Colt for all of his NFL 12 seasons and has been with Peyton Manning since Manning's rookie yard. As the Colts go-to WR Marvin has averaged 87 receptions, 1162 yards, 10.25 TDs per season for his career. With 93 receptions for 1245 yards with 11 TDs per season in the 11 seasons before he was injured last year.

There’s good news and bad for Marvin. Marvin sits higher on the NFL leaderboards than Peyton, but 1st is a long long long ways off.
Rank      Player           Receptions          Leads by        Years to pass
1.      Jerry Rice          1,549                           507                      6   
2.     Cris Carter         1,101                             59                       1
3.     Tim Brown         1,094                             52                       1
4.     Marvin Harrison(35) 1,042                      -
With all other active receivers at least 100 receptions behind Marvin he should move into second with a somewhat healthy 2008.

In receiving yardage Marvin trials an active player. Issac Bruce now a member of the 49ers. To estimate when/if Marvin will pass Bruce and to factor in Marvin’s injury I’ll use both their averages over the last 3 seasons. 785 for Bruce, 920 for Marvin. So Marvin gains on Bruce by 135 yards per season and 920 on everyone else.
Rank     Player               Yards         Leads by       Years to pass
1.      Jerry Rice               22,895       8951                 10
2.     Tim Brown               14,934        990                    2
3.     Isaac Bruce (35)     14,109       165+               1-2ish
4.     James Lofton          14,004         60                    1
5.     Marvin Harrison (35) 13,944      -

Marvin leads the next active WR (TO) by over 800 yards so he's not in danger of being passed if he is able to play in 2008. Bruce doesn't seem to have much left and it's the Frank Gore show in San Fransisco so I doubt Bruce holds Marvin off. If he returns close to pre-injury form Marvin will easily claim 2nd place in NFL history.


While sidelined by his knee injury Marvin was passed twice for the lead in TDs among active receivers. All three receivers have averaged similar amounts of TDs and all have had season where they did not play up to their career numbers for various reasons (injury, team suspension, stopped trying), so I’m not going to try to order the three of them.

Rank    Player                 TDs      Lead      Years to pass
1.      Jerry Rice              197         74               8
2.     Cris Carter              130           7               1
3.     Terrell Owens (34) 129          6               ?
4.     Randy Moss (30)     124        1                ?
5.     Marvin Harrison (35) 123   -

2nd place is easily within Marvin’s grasp in all categories if he can return healthy next season, (though he'll have to fight off TO and Randy Moss for the touchdown lead) but Rice’s records seem well out of reach. Even at his pre-injury pace he'd likely have to play into his forties at the same high level to reach striking distance of any of Rice's career totals. Second place isn't that bad.

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