Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith have nothing to worry about. The all-time receiving and rushing marks they set during their Pro Football Hall of Fame careers remain in no jeopardy of being broken any time soon. However, some of all the greatest quarterbacks in league history could be sliding down the ladder in 2014 as Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady continue their three-pronged assault on the NFL’s record book. Plus, some elite players at other positions are nearing milestones from both a league and franchise standpoint in scoring, sacks, rushing and receiving. Here’s a look at 10 greats who this season have the chance to add even more lines to their standout NFL resumes. – By Alex Marvez
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY SportsMatthew Emmons
Terrell Suggs, OLB, Ravens
>> Milestone: Suggs needs 5.5 sacks to become the 31st defender in NFL history with at least 100. Suggs passed Peter Boulware (70) long ago to become Baltimore’s all-time leader and currently ranks seventh among active NFL players. >> Noteworthy: Despite notching 10 sacks and matching his career-high total in tackles with 80, Suggs believes his 2013 campaign would have been even more productive had he not gained excessive weight during the season. Suggs promised better results in 2014 after the Ravens signed him to a five-year, $28.5 million contract extension during the offseason.
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY SportsEvan Habeeb
Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys
>> Milestone: Witten needs 201 yards to become only the third tight end to reach the 10,000-yard plateau. Witten also is set to pass Shannon Sharpe (10,060 yards) as the second-leading receiving tight end in NFL history behind the recently retired Tony Gonzalez (15,127). >> Noteworthy: With the retirement of Washington linebacker London Fletcher, Witten’s consecutive game streak of 171 now leads all active position players. The last contest Witten missed came during his 2003 rookie season.
Getty ImagesRonald Martinez
Frank Gore, RB, 49ers
>> Milestone: Gore is 33 yards from becoming the 29th player in NFL history to rush for at least 10,000 yards. He also could pass Ricky Williams (10,009) on the all-time list as early as San Francisco’s season opener against Dallas. Gore ranks third among active rushers behind Atlanta’s Steven Jackson (10,678) and Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson (10,115). >> Noteworthy: Gore has never averaged fewer than 4.1 yards per carry during his nine-year NFL career. But at age 31 and entering the final year of his contract, this season could be Gore’s swan song in San Francisco.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY SportsKyle Terada
Adam Vinatieri, K, Colts
>> Milestone: Vinatieri can become the only player in NFL history to score 100 points in 17 different seasons. Vinatieri and retired kicker Jason Elam are the lone players to have accomplished that feat in 16 seasons. >> Noteworthy: Although he’s the NFL’s oldest active player, the 41-year-old Vinatieri is coming off one of his best seasons after having made 87.5 percent of his field-goal attempts in 2013. Vinatieri also is the league’s active scoring leader with 2,006 points, last season becoming only the seventh player to exceed 2,000.
Getty ImagesAl Bello
Devin Hester, KR/PR/WR, Falcons
>> Milestone: With one more special teams return for a touchdown, Hester will break the all-time record of 19 he currently holds with Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders. Hester has scored 13 times on punt returns, five times on kickoff returns and once when returning a missed field goal. >> Noteworthy: The Falcons, who signed Hester in the offseason after his Chicago Bears contract expired, haven’t had a special teams return for a touchdown since the 2010 season. Atlanta plans to also give Hester a niche receiving role on offense.
Jason Getz-USA TODAY SportsJason Getz
Jared Allen, DE, Bears
>> Milestone: Allen has notched four safeties in his 10-year NFL career, tying him for the all-time record with Hall of Fame linebacker Ted Hendricks and ex-Detroit Lions defensive tackle Doug English. With 128.5 career sacks, Allen is only five behind Arizona’s John Abraham for the lead among active NFL players. Allen’s sacks total leads the league since the 2004 season. >> Noteworthy: Allen’s 22 sacks in 2011 remain the second-highest single-season total in NFL history, just behind the 22.5 registered by new Hall of Fame inductee Michael Strahan in 2001.
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY SportsJerry Lai
Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions
>> Milestone: Career 200-yard receiving games. Johnson, 28, is tied at five with Hall of Fame wide receiver Lance Alworth. Johnson is entering his eighth NFL season; Alworth played for 11. Johnson also could join Jerry Rice (four), Andre Johnson (three) and Marvin Harrison (three) as the only players with at least three 1,500-yard receiving seasons. He fell eight yards short of hitting the mark in 2013. >> Noteworthy: Johnson already holds the NFL’s single-season receiving record with 1,964 yards in 2012.
Getty ImagesLeon Halip
Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos
>> Milestone: Manning is approaching signposts in all-time touchdown passes (18 away from surpassing Brett Favre’s mark of 508), 400-yard passing games (two away from Dan Marino’s mark of 13), 4,000-yard passing seasons (already holds the record with 13) and seasons leading the NFL in TD passes (tied with Favre, Steve Young, Drew Brees, Len Dawson, and Johnny Unitas with four). Manning also needs 5,036 passing yards to join Favre (71,838) as the only quarterbacks with 70,000 career passing yards. >> Noteworthy: Manning is coming off the most prolific passing season in NFL history, with 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns.
Getty ImagesDoug Pensinger
Derrick Johnson, LB, Chiefs
>> Milestone: Though tackles didn’t become an official statistic until the late 1970s – long after many of the Chiefs legendary defenders had stopped playing -- Johnson’s upcoming career achievement shouldn’t be diminished. He is 19 stops away from breaking Kansas City’s franchise record set by Gary Spani, who played with the Chiefs from 1978 to 1986. >> Noteworthy: What will make setting the mark even sweeter for Johnson -- his 19th tackle this season will be the 1,000th of his 10-year NFL career.
Getty ImagesPeter G. Aiken
Drew Brees, QB, Saints
>> Milestone: In 2011, Brees became the first quarterback to break Dan Marino’s single-season yardage record of 5,084 yards that had stood for 27 years. He is set to continue his assault on Marino’s marks, needing four 400-yard passing games to break Marino’s record of 13. Brees also could join Marino (420), Peyton Manning (491) and Brett Favre (508) as the only quarterbacks with 400 career touchdown passes. Brees has 363 entering his 14th NFL season. >> Noteworthy: Brees can extend his NFL-record streak of consecutive seasons with at least 30 touchdown passes to seven. His 78 career 300-yard passing games are just six behind Manning for the most in league history.