Charlie Joiner began his playing career in the AFL after being a fourth-round pick out of Grambling State by the then-Houston Oilers. He started his career as a defensive back, but was quickly moved to the offensive side of the ball.
That was a move that worked out.
He played with the Oilers through the merger and was traded to the Cincinnati Bengals in 1972. He was a solid player in both places, but the Chargers acquired him via trade in 1975. He would spend the final 11 years of his career, thriving in the “Air Coryell” offense.
When Joiner retired, he had more receptions and receiving yards than any player in history. He was the last player to ever play in the AFL to retire.
For his career, he had 750 catches for 12,146 yards and 65 touchdowns. In today’s game, where passing plays happen far more often than they did during his time, those numbers would be even bigger.
Taking into account his time with the Chargers only, his career numbers have held up. He still ranks second in team history in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches.
That helped him get elected into the Chargers Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996. Following his playing career, he went to the sidelines as a coach, which included two stints with the Chargers.
One of the smartest players of his generation and one of the most fluid route runners to ever play the wide receiver position, Joiner is easily one of the best players to ever put on a Chargers uniform.