The San Diego Chargers’ legendary wide receiver-turned-coach Charlie Joiner announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday.
Joiner, whose successful NFL career spans 44 years, including 21 years with the Bolts, is one of the Chargers all-time leading receivers, as well as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Joiner, now 65 years old, played 11 seasons with the Chargers from 1976 to 1986.
He finished his playing career as the team’s all-time leader with 586 career catches. The only Bolts player ever to surpass Joiner’s feat was Antonio Gates, who broke the record in 2011.
Once Joiner’s days as a Chargers player ended, he became a coach for the team. His first Chargers coaching stint spanned from 1987 to 1991, while his second and most recent turn as a coach was from 2008 to 2012.
Other highlights from Joiner’s lengthy, legendary NFL career include:
- Played 18 seasons in the AFL and NFL, including stints with the Houston Oilers (1969-1972) and Cincinnati Bengals (1972-1975), before joining the Chargers in 1976
- Pro Bowl choice following the 1976, 1979 and 1980 seasons
- Honored by the City of San Diego on “Charlie Joiner Day” in 1984 and 1986
- The Louisiana native and Grambling State University alum was inducted into the Louisiana Hall of Fame in 1990
- Inducted into the Chargers Hall of Fame in 1993
- Amassed 750 catches over his Hall of Fame playing career, the most in NFL history at the time of his retirement as a player
- Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996
- Final career totals included 12,146 yards and 65 touchdowns
- At time of his retirement as a player, Joiner had played 239 career games – the most by an NFL wide receiver
- Joiner’s 9,203 receiving yards rank second in Chargers team history, behind only Lance Alworth
- Joiner’s 47 touchdown catches rank fourth behind Alworth, Gates and Garry Garrison
- Selected as the Chargers “Most Inspirational Player” seven times
On Tuesday, Joiner said he finally feels it's the right time to retire.
“After 44 years, it’s time for retirement. This is definitely a young man’s game, and it’s time for new blood, new insight and new ways of doing things,” said Joiner. “I think the players need to be introduced to those new things. It’s time in my life that, at 65, I should be doing something else.”
As a Chargers wide receivers coach, Joiner has helped craft star players, including Anthony Miller in 1989 and Vincent Jackson in 2008, 2009 and 2011.
When Joiner was hired as the wide receivers coach for the Buffalo Bills from 1992 to 2000, he worked with prolific NFL receivers Eric Moulds and Andre Reed. As the Kansas City Chiefs coach from 2001 to 2007, Joiner oversaw the development of leading rookie receiver Dwayne Bowe.
Despite making his rounds across the NFL, Joiner said he’ll always be a true-blue Bolts fan.
“I will always be a San Diego Chargers fan. This is where my career started. Even though I played for two other teams, my career started here and now it’s ending here,” said Joiner. “There’s a new leadership now and we’ve got to get behind this new leadership to make sure this franchise gets to where it wants to go.”
In his final farewell to the Bolts and NFL, Joiner also called San Diego Chargers fans “some of the best in the nation.”