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Pro Football Hall of Fame

Charlie Joiner played 18 seasons in the NFL, including his first four with the Houston Oilers. One of the league’s most prolific receivers, he amassed 750 career receptions for 12,146 yards and 65 touchdowns, ranking as the league’s leading receiver of all-time when he retired at the age of 39 in 1986. His 18 seasons played were longer than any other wide receiver in history at the time of his retirement. The Oilers originally targeted Joiner for the defensive backfield when they picked the 5-11, 180-pounder from Grambling in the fourth round of the 1969 AFL-NFL Draft. Joiner played briefly on defense and the kickoff return team but soon became established as a premier pass catcher. Joiner caught 82 of his 750 career passes as an Oiler, totaling 1,480 yards and 12 touchdowns. He paced the squad with 681 yards and seven touchdown grabs in 1971. In his fourth season in 1972, Houston sent him to the Cincinnati Bengals in a four-player swap. Four years later in 1976, he was traded to San Diego. With the Chargers, Joiner blossomed into super-stardom. He and quarterback Dan Fouts formed a lethal pass-catch team that accounted for the preponderance of his 586 receptions as a Charger. During his 11 years in San Diego, Joiner caught 50 or more passes seven times and had 70 or more receptions three seasons. Injuries cut into his playing time at the beginning, but in a 193-game span over his final 13 seasons, Joiner missed only one game. He was an All-NFL pick in 1980 and a Pro Bowl choice three times. In the 1980 AFC title game, he led the Chargers with six receptions for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Blessed with excellent speed and tantalizing moves, Joiner averaged 16.2 yards per catch and accounted for 12,146 yards and 65 touchdowns. When he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996, Joiner ranked fifth in receptions and sixth in receiving yardage on the NFL’s all-time list. Joiner was once described by San Francisco 49ers coaching great Bill Walsh as “the most intelligent, the smartest, the most calculating receiver the game has ever known."

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