Bruce Smith still holds the record for most sacks. Nobody can match Smith's 200 career sacks. However, there are a few players who are very close. The list includes Smith, Paul "Pepper" Oliver, Kevin Greene, John Randle, Mark Gastineau, Charles Johnson, and Jason Taylor.
It's important to note that no one is even close to Bruce Smith's total number of sacks. He is the all-time leader in this category with 200 sacks. Even if you gave away every single sack Smith got over his last two seasons, he would still have more than 20 years left in him when he retired in 1999.
At least five more players will reach 20 sacks this season. Jason Taylor is one of them. If he keeps up his current pace, he will break the record next year. Charles Johnson is another player who could break the record this season. Johnson only needs six more sacks to reach 20 years in the league. He is on a hot streak right now, so it might not take that many games.
Last but not least, we have Kevin Greene. Greene only has three more sacks than Johnson. If Kevin continues his current pace, he will also break the record this year.
Leaders in NFL sacks all-time
This is a list of National Football League (NFL) players who have accumulated 100 sacks. In 1982, the NFL started keeping count of sacks. Sacks received before to this date are not included in this list.
Only two players have led the league in sacks with two separate teams: Jared Allen (Chiefs in 2007 and Vikings in 2011) and Kevin Greene (1994 with the Steelers and 1996 with the Panthers). With four sacks, the Chiefs and Vikings have the most players in the NFL.
Unofficial sack totals indicate that ex-Lions players surpassed Michael Strahan's rookie sack total from 1978. Michael Strahan has held the NFL's all-time single-season sack record for the past 20 years. His mark of 22.5 sacks in 2001 is unlikely to be broken since it was achieved only one season after its inception. Other former Lions players have also reached double digits in sacks, including Andre Carter (11.5), Howard Green (10.5), William Thomas (10.0), and Kyle Vanden Bosch (9.5). None of these players remains in the league today.
The highest draft pick to ever play at least one game for the Lions is quarterback Bob Gaines. The top selection in the 1957 NFL Draft went on to have a very successful career with the Cleveland Browns. He played eight seasons in Cleveland before moving on to coach for two more. Today, he ranks fifth all time among QBs with 10,000 yards passing.
Two other players were selected in the 1957 NFL Draft who went on to have lengthy careers with the Lions. One is left tackle Jim Bowden, who had been drafted by the team in 1956 but chose to play baseball instead. The other is fullback Al Johnson, who began his career with the Lions in 1957 but was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles before the start of the 1958 season.
Many people recall Brett Favre willingly going to the ground for Michael Strahan to record sack number 22.5 of the 2001 season. It was a momentous occasion that earned Strahan the all-time record for most sacks in a single season. However, the record is actually no longer held by Strahan as it has been surpassed several times since his retirement.
In fact, there are three players who have gotten sacked more than once during a single season. They are John Riggins (10 times), Bruce Smith (9 times), and Reggie White (8 times).
Riggins and White both played for the Washington Redskins, while Smith played for the Detroit Lions. All three were considered dominant forces at their positions, with White being one of the best defensive ends of all time and Riggins and Smith being first-ballot hall of famers.
They all had great seasons but they also got sacked a lot! There have been many other players who have gotten sacked multiple times during their careers, but they aren't as well known as the ones mentioned above. Here are the others:
Eddie Edwards - 6.5 sacks in 1979
Ernie Accorsi - 6 sacks in 1980
John Elway - 5 sacks in 1981
The Jaguars hold the dubious distinction of having the NFL's lowest franchise sack record. For Jacksonville, Brackens has 55 sacks. This record should ultimately be broken. Thomas was a fantastic pass rusher who played his whole career for the Chiefs. He had the most sacks of any player in the 1990s.
Thomas first entered the league as a rookie free agent with the Eagles in 1987. He spent three seasons in Philadelphia before being traded to the Chiefs for wide receiver Mark Duper. Thomas went on to win two Super Bowl rings with the Kansas City Chiefs. In 2001, he was named the NFL's MVP after he led the league with 14.5 sacks. Thomas retired after the 2005 season and finished his brilliant career with 26 2/3 sacks. His best years were clearly between 1989 and 1994 when he led the league in sacks four times. It's likely that his record will not stand for very long.
Brackens came into the league in 1995 as an undrafted free agent from North Carolina. He played seven seasons with the Jaguars, helping them reach the AFC Championship Game in his first year with the team. In 2003, he led the league with 19 sacks and won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award. That same year, he was chosen by his peers as the No. 1 defensive player in the league. After one more season with the Jaguars, Brackens decided to retire at age 30 after suffering through several injuries. He finished his brilliant career with 55 sacks.