If John Riggins can haul his aching body nine more yards, whether it be Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys or sometime in the future, he will move into fourth place on the NFL's all-time rushing list, surpassing O.J. Simpson's career mark of 11,236.
Riggins did not play in the Redskins' 44-10 victory over the Falcons Sunday in Atlanta because of a sore back, but Coach Joe Gibbs said Monday he will start him against the Cowboys if he is healthy.
Riggins is one of only six running backs to have rushed more than 10,000 yards in his career. With 553 yards in eight games this season, he has 11,228 for his 14-year career.
Chicago's Walter Payton, of course, is the all-time leader with 14,153 yards after gaining 192 against the Packers Sunday. Dallas' Tony Dorsett (10,337 yards) became the sixth earlier this season.
The Cowboys might be in trouble Sunday at RFK if Riggins breaks another record, that for rushing touchdowns. Riggins, only the second NFL runner to rush for more than 100 touchdowns, needs five to break Jim Brown's record of 106.
Riggins will need to heal quickly and probably play another year to break Brown's mark for total touchdowns (rushing or receiving), which is 126. Riggins is second with 114.
If Riggins does return and plays the rest of the season, he likely will move into second on the all-time list for number of carries.
Payton is first, with 3,209, and Franco Harris is second with 2,949. Riggins has 2,870 for his career. He has 130 carries in eight games this season.
Riggins also needs 767 yards rushing or receiving to move into fifth on the all-time list for combined yards. With just seven games left in the season, however, it is likely he would have to return for another season to reach that mark.
Ironically, the man he would shove down a notch on the all-time list is Redskins assistant general manager Bobby Mitchell, who has 14,078. Riggins has 13,312.
The Redskins did not practice yesterday, although a few players showed up at Redskin Park to lift weights.
Offensive tackle Joe Jacoby, who has a sprained right knee, likely will miss the Cowboys game.
Dan McQuaid made his first regular-season start in Jacoby's place at left tackle against the Falcons and probably will start again if Jacoby can't go.
The Redskins have been pleased with the way McQuaid has progressed since arriving in a preseason trade from the Los Angeles Rams.
"We thought he had played well in Cleveland (replacing Jacoby after he reinjured his knee) and in his first start," said assistant general manager Charlie Casserly.
"The toughest thing is the timing," Casserly said of McQuaid's change of teams relatively late in training camp. "Picking up stunts, running and passing, and coordination with the guard is critical.
"The only way you get that is to play. He's smart and mentally has been able to handle it."