Thurman Thomas breakouts
THE THOMAS FILEFull name: Thurman Lee Thomas Birthdate: May 16, 1966 Birthplace: Houston High school: Willowridge (Sugar Land, Texas) College: Oklahoma State Presenter: Marv Levy, former coach, Hall of Fame Class of 2001 Pro career: 13 seasons, 182 games Drafted: 2nd round (40th overall) in 1988 by Buffalo Bills Uniform number: 34 COMPARING THOMAS WITH THE GREATS What is Thurman Thomas’ place in the history of great running backs? Here are his numbers compared to some others. Marcus, Jim, Eric, Marshall, Walter, Barry, Gale, O.J., Emmitt, Thurman Allen, Brown, Dickerson, Faulk, Payton, Sanders, Sayers, Simpson, Smith, Thomas Seasons: 16, 9, 12, 12, 13, 10, 7, 11, 15, 13 1,000-yard rushing seasons: 3, 7, 7, 7, 10, 10, 2, 5, 11, 8 Career rushing: 12,243, 12,312, 13,259, 12,279, 16,726, 15,269, 4,956, 11,236, 18,355, 12,074 Career receiving: 5,411, 2,499, 2,137, 6,875, 4,538, 2,921, 1,307, 2,142, 3,224, 4,458 Touchdowns: 144, 126, 96, 136, 125, 109, 48, 75, 175, 88 Pro Bowls: 6, 9, 6, 7, 9, 10, 4, 6, 8, 5 Super Bowl appearances: 1, 3*, 0, 2, 1, 0, 0, 0, 3, 4 Super Bowl rings: 1, 1*, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 3, 0 * Brown played in three NFL title games, winning one. THOMAS NOTEBOOK - Thurman Thomas’ fondness for former Coach Marv Levy, who will present Thomas on Saturday, is evident. “He was probably the most important person in my career throughout the National Football League,” Thomas said of Levy, a 2001 Hall of Fame inductee who also presented Jim Kelly. “He was a guy that didn’t scream, he didn’t holler. He was a great motivator, a great historian, a great English major. Just a guy that I think if anybody in this world has a chance to sit down and talk to Marv for five or 10 minutes, they should do it. I think overall they would learn a lot from Marv, not only as a great football coach but also a great person.” - No offense, Robb Riddick, but the people of Buffalo sure are happy you messed up your knee back in the preseason of 1989. A dislocated knee cap in the final tuneup of ‘89 forced Thomas to replace Riddick as Buffalo’s third-down back. An epiphany followed. “If it had not been for Robb Riddick getting hurt, the Buffalo Bills probably never would have known I was able to catch the ball as well as I did coming out of the backfield or going down the field,” said Thomas, who led the Bills in rushing as a rookie in 1988 but caught just 18 passes. Forced to stay in on third downs, the Bills soon realized they had an all-around threat. He caught 60 passes for career highs of 669 yards and six touchdowns in 1989. - Thomas tied an NFL record (also held by Kellen Winslow Sr.) with 13 receptions for 150 yards and two touchdowns in the Bills’ 34-30 loss at Cleveland in a 1989 divisional playoff game. The Bills were down 34-24 with 6:50 to go, but rallied to give themselves a chance. Ronnie Harmon dropped a potential touchdown on the final drive. “If Ronnie Harmon catches that ball in the end zone, we win,” Kelly said, before adding with a laugh, “We would have been right up there with (John) Elway’s (comeback).” - Thomas’ single-game rushing high was 214 yards on 18 carries against the Jets during a 1990 Monday Night game. “He could have ran for 300 yards that night if he had wanted to,” former college teammate and close friend Curtis Luper said. - Thomas had a great sidekick during most of his playing days in Buffalo. Kenneth Davis played behind Thomas, providing the Bills depth at running back. “I don’t think I would have played as long as I did had I not had Kenny Davis,” Thomas said. “He saved my career by taking a lot of short-yardage and goal-line situations. When you’re running a no-huddle, you had to take breathers.” Drafted out of Texas Christian in 1986 by Green Bay, Davis played nine years in the league, the final six with Buffalo. He ran for more than 600 yards in 1991 and 1992. He played a key role in the Buffalo’s miraculous comeback win against Houston in the 1992 wild card playoff game when Thomas was injured. Davis ran for 104 yards on just 10 carries the next week in Buffalo’s 24-3 win in Pittsburgh. - Thomas didn’t win a Super Bowl, but he did gain a different championship. Thomas led Willowridge High School in Missouri City (Tx.) to a pair of state title game appearances, winning one. - Thomas was the first player to score a touchdown in four consecutive Super Bowls. - Thomas set playoff records for career combined net yards (2,124), touchdowns (21) and consecutive games (9) with a TD. - Only Emmitt Smith and Barry Sanders rushed for more yards in the 1990s n Thomas and Smith are close friends and their birthdays are one day apart -- May 16 for Thomas and May 15 for Smith, although Thomas is three years older. - Lives in Orlando with wife Patti, daughters Olivia, Angel and Annika and son Thurman III ... Oldest daughter Olivia will attend college at the University of Florida.