Hall of Fame wide receiver Charlie Joiner retires

Charlie Joiner, one of the San Diego Chargers’ all-time leading receivers and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, announced his retirement after 44 years in the NFL, including 21 years with the Chargers.

“After 44 years, it’s time for retirement,” Joiner said.  “This is definitely a young man’s game, and it’s time for new blood, new insight and new ways of doing things.  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.”
Joiner played 11 seasons in San Diego (1976-86) and finished his playing career as the team’s all-time leader with 586 career catches until Antonio Gates broke the record in 2011. A Pro Bowl choice following the 1976, ’79 & ’80 seasons, Joiner was inducted into the Chargers’ Hall of Fame in 1993. His 9,203 receiving yards rank second in team history behind only Lance Alworth and his 47 touchdown catches rank fourth behind Alworth, Gates and Gary Garrison. He was selected as the team’s Most Inspirational Player seven times and he was honored by the City of San Diego on “Charlie Joiner Day” in 1984 and ’86.

“With the Chargers, I’ve been associated with some of the best people in the game,” Joiner said. “When the Spanos family took over the Chargers, we developed a great relationship. I appreciate everything they’ve done for me and I appreciate everything they’ve done for this community.  There’s a strong leadership here now with Dean, A.G. and John.”

Over his Hall of Fame playing career, Joiner amassed 750 catches, which was the most in league history at the time of his retirement as a player.  He played a total of 18 seasons in the AFL and NFL with the Houston Oilers (1969-72), Cincinnati Bengals (1972-75) and Chargers (1976-86). He was drafted by Houston in the fourth round of the 1969 NFL Draft as a defensive back. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996. Joiner’s final career totals included 12,146 yards and 65 TDs. At the time of his retirement, Joiner’s 239 career games played were the most by an NFL wide receiver.

Once his playing days ended, he became a coach and enjoyed two stints with the Bolts.  The first lasted from 1987-91 while the most recent was from 2008-2012.

“I appreciate all the years of devotion they (the fans) had for me,” Joiner said. “I appreciate all the years they backed me, followed me and helped me.  I used to feed off the crowd.  And when the crowd got excited, I got excited.  I’m going to miss that.  I know it’s time for another player to get that kind of attachment with the fans. And the fans in San Diego are some of the best in the nation.  I’ve been around the entire league and seen every team in the nation, and here in San Diego they’ve done an outstanding job of backing this football team, and it’s time to get behind this team again.”
In his first stint as a wide receivers coach with the Chargers, one of Joiner’s star pupils was Anthony Miller, who had a breakout season with 1,252 yards and 10 touchdowns in 1989 and earned Pro Bowl selections following the ’89 and ’90 seasons. During his second term with the Chargers, he oversaw the emergence of Vincent Jackson who earned Pro Bowl honors after the ‘09 and ‘11 seasons.  Jackson, who went for 1,098 yards in 2008, became the first Charger to post consecutive 1,000-yard seasons since 1995-96.

      In 1992 Joiner was hired as the wide receivers coach for the Buffalo Bills. He spent nine seasons (1992-2000) in Western New York, working with a pair of the NFL’s best receivers in Eric Moulds and Andre Reed.  Moulds had two of the most prolific seasons in Bills history, earning Pro Bowl honors following a team-record 1,368-yard season in 1998 and a 1,326-yard season in 2000. Reed was selected to three Pro Bowl teams under Joiner’s tutelage (1992-94).

     Joiner was with the Kansas City Chiefs for seven seasons (2001-07) as their wide receivers coach. In 2007, Joiner oversaw the development of rookie Dwyane Bowe, who was the NFL’s leading rookie receiver with 70 catches, 995 yards and five touchdowns. Bowe averaged an impressive 14.2-yards per catch during his rookie season.
“I will always be a San Diego Chargers fan,” he said. “This is where my career started.  Even though I played for two other teams, my career started here and now it’s ending here. 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.”
      A native of Many, Louisiana, Joiner was a four-year letterman at Grambling State University (1965-68). In 1990 he was inducted into the Louisiana Hall of Fame.  Joiner is married, Dianne, and has two daughters, Jynaya and Kori.
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January 22, 2013

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