Buffalo Bills This Day In History: Thurman Thomas Retires


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Back, 14 years ago, after a 13 year career, 12 of which were with the Buffalo Bills and 1 of which was with the Miami Dolphins, Thurman Thomas, number 34, retired from the Buffalo Bills after signing a one day contract with the Bills to end his Hall of Fame career.

"“As I sit here and announce my retirement from the Buffalo Bills,” said Thomas from a somber press conference at One Bills Drive, “wow, it’s been a great ride.”“Even though I am retiring today, this is a place that I’ll always remember, it will always be a special part of my heart.”"

"– BuffaloBills.com"

Thurman Thomas came to the Buffalo Bills in the 1988 draft and was the Buffalo Bills second round pick, their first for that year.  At the time GM, Bill Polian, had traded their first round pick away for that year to bring over Cornelius Bennett.

During his career, Thurman Thomas recorded 65 rushing touchdowns and 23 receiving touchdowns.  He retired as the 9th overall running back with 12,074 yards on the ground.  He had just under 4,500 yards receiving on 472 receptions.

Thurman Thomas played in 21 playoff games during his career finishing with 339 attempts and 1442 yards on the ground.  Thomas had 76 receptions for 672 yards.  He finished with a total of 21 touchdowns during the playoffs, 16 on the ground and 5 in the air.

One memory that is hard to forget when you think of Thurman Thomas is the Super Bowl against the Washington Redskins.  It was the Buffalo Bills second time to the show, after losing to the New York Giants the year before.  Thurman was getting ready to go out on offense for the first drive for the Buffalo Bills and could not find his helmet on the sideline.

"“I couldn’t find it,” Thomas said after the game that day. “I didn’t know where it was. For some reason somebody moved it. I was very upset.”– BuffaloBills.com"

Here is the basis of the story of how Thurman Thomas lost his helmet on Super Bowl Sunday.

"“So Thurman is looking for where he put it and it’s not there,” said Hojnowski. “Thurman was frantic running around to all of us saying he couldn’t find his helmet.”Once Bills Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy got wind of the problem, the equipment manager was an easy target.“Coach turns around and screams my name, ‘Hojo, where the #$%@ is Thurman’s helmet?!’”Immediately Hojnowski mobilizes the entire equipment staff in a mad search to find Thomas’ head gear, and time is very quickly growing short. Buffalo’s defense quickly sent Washington three-and-out on their first possession of the game.Up to a half dozen people are still searching for Thomas’ helmet, but the offense is ready to take the field for Buffalo and the star running back is still not equipped for football. Instead his backup Kenny Davis starts on offense and gets a yard on first down on a run to the left.A Jim Kelly scramble on 2nd-and-9 netted four yards. Thomas’ helmet is then found and he gets on the field for the 3rd-and-5, but Kelly is sacked and the Bills go three-and-out as well.“I believe that (Randy) “Woody” (Ribbeck) might have been the one to find it,” said Hojnowski of his assistant equipment manager. “It was found at the other end of the bench. That would be on the defensive end of the bench. Throughout the Redskins’ first series and our first play on offense we’re not thinking it’s down at the other end of the bench. You’d never think to look down there.”– BuffaloBills.com"

It turns out that the staff believes that another player picked the helmet up and thought it was theirs, walked to the other end of the sideline and realizing that it was not their helmet, set it down to find their own helmet.

The game ended in the Buffalo Bills second Super Bowl loss in 2 years.  Although it did not end well for the Bills in their Super Bowl years, Thurman Thomas was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2007.

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