Earnest Byner 1985 Topps 1,000 Yard Club
Long remembered for a certain fumble on the doorstep of Super Bowl XXI, Cleveland Browns running back Earnest Byner was a part of a dynamic tandem along with Kevin Mack. In 1985, the duo of Byner and Mack became only the third set of teammates to break the 1,000 yards barrier in the same season.
Byner rushed for 1,002 yards while Mack totaled 1,104 yards. In his second season in the NFL, Byner accomplished the feat dispute running for 100 yards in a game twice with a high of 109 yards against the Buffalo Bills in week 11. He led the duo with 161 yards in the Browns’ 24-21 loss to the Miami Dolphins in the opening round of the playoffs.
At the time they joined Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris of the 1972 Miami Dolphins, Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier of the 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers.
Since Mack and Byner, three other tandems have joined this exclusive club. The other were Warrick Dunn and Michael Vick, the first quarterback to join the club, with the 2006 Atlanta Falcons and Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward with the 2008 New York Giants.
Byner finished his 14-year NFL career ranked 16th on the NFL’s all-time rushing list with 8,261 yards on 2,095 carries and 56 touchdowns. He finished his career in the NFL’s top 50 all-time leaders in rushing attempts, rushing touchdowns and total yards.
The East Carolina product is unfortunately best known for The Fumble in which he lost the ball on the three-yard line while attempting to score against the Denver Broncos during the 1987 AFC Championship game. The fumble ruined a big day for Byner. He finished the game with 67 rushing yards, seven receptions for 120 yards and two touchdowns.
After five seasons with the Browns, Byner was traded to the Washington Redskins before the start of the 1989 season for running back Mike Oliphant. Byner went on to help the Redskins win Super Bowl XXVI.