Earl Campbell — Retired at 32 in 1985
It’s not surprise that Earl Campbell’s career was eventually cut short due to injuries. The 232lb running back will forever be regarded as one of the most physical and hard-charging backs we’ve seen in NFL history. The two-time All-American at the University of Texas became the #1 overall pick in the 1978 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers, and led the NFL in rushing his first three seasons in the league. In said first three seasons, he amassed 45 rushing touchdowns, while running for 1,450 yards each of those three seasons.
But because of the violence he ran with, people accused Campbell of being washed up at only 28 years old, which is why the Oilers eventually traded him to to the New Orleans Saints, where he spent the final two years of his NFL career, before retiring as a result of the pounding he had taken on his body.