What Is The Average Length of an NFL Career, By Position?

What Is The Average Length of an NFL Career, By Position?

Despite the league’s best efforts, season-ending injuries continue to pile up during NFL training camp and preseason in 2022.

While injuries are a part of the game, they can often derail a player’s football career, especially in the NFL, where winning and losing is often separated by a matter of inches.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the average NFL career length by position in 2022.

Scroll down to find out which positions have the longest and shortest average career spans in the NFL.

NFL Training Camp Injuries Continue in 2022

In 2021, the NFL shortened the preseason in an attempt to limit injuries in exhibition games.

However, the move hasn’t quite worked.

While the truth is that football is a violent sport, there is more than one way to get hurt.

In addition to the bone-jarring hits, NFL players also have to deal with non-contact injuries, which often have serious repercussions.

Several NFL players have already suffered season-ending injuries during training camp, including Dallas Cowboys’ wide receiver James Washington and Denver Broncos wideout Tim Patrick.

While wide receivers don’t seem like they engage in as much contact as other positions, they have some of the shortest careers in the league.

In fact, the average career of a wide receiver lasts fewer than three NFL seasons.

How Long Does The Average NFL Career Last?

According to recent player data, the average NFL career lasts only about 3.3 years.

However, many positions have careers that span less than the average, which is skewed in part by kickers, punters, and backup quarterbacks.

Average NFL Player Career Length, By Position

It should come as no surprise that kickers and punters enjoy the longest NFL careers at 4.87 years.

According to data compiled by our NFL experts, quarterbacks and offensive linemen are next on the list with average career spans of 4.44 and 3.63 years, respectively.

Linemen also lead players in career length on the defensive side of the ball.

While linebackers and cornerbacks enjoy shorter than average careers compared to some of their teammates, offensive skill position players at wide receiver and running back have the shortest average career span in the league.

Of course, some of this data is also skewed by practice squad players and injury replacements that fill in for less than one season.

Rookies that make the opening day roster tend to have longer careers, averaging about six years of service in the NFL. That number moves even higher for first-round picks, who play around 9.3 years on average.

Likewise, players that make the Pro Bowl at least once in their career go on to play an average of more than 11 years.

Check out the average NFL career span of players by position below.

  • Kickers/Punters — 4.87
  • Quarterbacks — 4.44
  • Offensive Linemen — 3.63
  • Defensive Linemen — 3.24
  • Linebackers — 2.97
  • Cornerbacks — 2.94
  • Tight Ends — 2.85
  • Wide Receivers — 2.81
  • Running Backs — 2.57
  • League average — 3.3
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