9 Shortest NFL Players of All Time

In the game of football, size and physicality often dominate the headlines. However, there have been exceptional players who defied the odds and showcased their skills on the gridiron, despite their smaller stature. In this article, we celebrate the 10 shortest NFL players of all time, recognizing their agility, speed, and resilience that made them true giants in the game.

  1. Trindon Holliday (5’5″): Standing at a compact 5 feet 5 inches, Trindon Holliday had a notable career as a return specialist. His blazing speed and agility made him a game-changer on special teams. Holliday played for multiple teams, including the Houston Texans and the Denver Broncos, and he holds the record for the longest punt return touchdown in NFL playoff history. Despite his smaller stature, Holliday’s electrifying speed and ability to change directions quickly made him a threat to score every time he touched the ball.
  2. Lionel “Little Train” James (5’6″): Lionel “Little Train” James, at 5 feet 6 inches, tops our list as the shortest NFL player of all time. James, a running back and kick returner, used his quickness, acceleration, and versatility to make a significant impact during his career with the San Diego Chargers.
  3. Darren Sproles (5’6″): Darren Sproles, standing at 5 feet 6 inches, had a remarkable NFL career as a running back and return specialist. Known for his incredible speed, agility, and versatility, Sproles played for several teams, including the San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints, and Philadelphia Eagles. He was a dynamic playmaker, capable of making explosive plays as a rusher, receiver, and returner. Sproles’ ability to elude defenders and contribute in multiple facets of the game made him a fan favorite and a highly respected player throughout his career.
  4. Jacquizz Rodgers (5’6″): Jacquizz Rodgers, at 5 feet 6 inches, made a name for himself as a running back in the NFL. His low center of gravity, agility, and toughness allowed him to excel in both rushing and receiving roles.
  5. Tarik Cohen (5’6″): Tarik Cohen, at 5 feet 6 inches, has made a name for himself as a running back for the Chicago Bears. Cohen’s exceptional speed, quickness, and elusiveness have made him a dangerous weapon in both the running and passing game. His ability to make defenders miss and turn short gains into big plays has made him a valuable asset to the Bears’ offense. Cohen’s contributions have earned him recognition as one of the most exciting and versatile players in the league.
  6. Dave Meggett (5’7″): Dave Meggett, at 5 feet 7 inches, had a successful career primarily as a running back and return specialist. Meggett played for the New York Giants, New England Patriots, and New York Jets. Known for his versatility and agility, Meggett was a dangerous playmaker both in the running and passing game. He was a key contributor to the Giants’ Super Bowl victory in 1991 and earned multiple Pro Bowl selections throughout his career.


10 shortest NFL players mentioned above proved that greatness knows no height restrictions. These athletes shattered expectations, showcased exceptional skills, and left an indelible mark on the game of football. From return specialists to running backs and cornerbacks, their agility, speed, and resilience made them true giants on the gridiron. These players serve as an inspiration to aspiring athletes, reminding us all that determination, skill, and heart can triumph over physical limitations in the world of professional sports.


Are short NFL players at a disadvantage compared to taller players? While height can provide certain advantages in specific positions, such as quarterback or wide receiver, being short does not necessarily put a player at a disadvantage in the NFL. The league values a diverse range of skills, including speed, agility, vision, and football IQ. Shorter players often excel in positions like running back, cornerback, or return specialist, where their quickness, low center of gravity, and ability to change direction rapidly can be advantageous.

How do short NFL players compensate for their lack of height in certain positions? Shorter NFL players often compensate for their height disadvantage by relying on their exceptional speed, agility, and quickness. They develop their technique, footwork, and route-running precision to gain separation from defenders. Additionally, shorter players tend to have a lower center of gravity, which can make them more elusive and difficult to tackle.

What positions are best suited for short NFL players? Short NFL players can excel in a variety of positions, depending on their specific skill sets. Running backs often find success due to their ability to accelerate quickly through gaps in the offensive line and their agility in evading tacklers. Cornerbacks who possess excellent speed, quickness, and coverage skills can effectively neutralize taller wide receivers. Return specialists, who need to navigate through tight spaces and make quick decisions, can also be dominated by shorter players.

How do short NFL players deal with physical challenges and larger opponents? Short NFL players must rely on their athleticism, technique, and football IQ to overcome physical challenges posed by larger opponents. They often focus on their speed, quickness, and agility to avoid direct hits and exploit gaps in the defense. Additionally, they use their low center of gravity and leverage to generate power and maintain balance when engaging with larger opponents.

Can short NFL players become successful at the professional level? Many short NFL players have proven themselves to be highly successful in the league. They have showcased exceptional skills, determination, and versatility, earning recognition and respect from teammates, coaches, and fans alike. While their path may present unique challenges, their talent and work ethic allow them to make significant contributions to their teams’ success.

Who are some notable short NFL players in recent times? Recent years have seen the rise of several notable short NFL players who have left a lasting impact on the league. Names like Darren Sproles, Tarik Cohen, and Trindon Holliday come to mind, as they have showcased their exceptional skills and playmaking abilities, defying expectations and making a name for themselves among their taller counterparts.

How do short NFL players contribute to the team’s overall performance? Short NFL players bring unique qualities to their teams. Their speed, agility, and quickness make them valuable assets in both offense and defense. They excel in eluding tacklers, creating mismatches, and making explosive plays. Additionally, their ability to change direction rapidly and read the game efficiently can contribute to the team’s overall strategy and success.

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