Thurman Thomas has yet to stop beaming over the news that the Buffalo Bills plan to retire his No. 34 jersey on Oct. 29, when the team faces the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football.
He joins former teammates Jim Kelly and Bruce Smith in receiving the rare honor bestowed by the team.
‘I remember the guys who wore it before me: Booker Moore, Cookie Gilchrest’
“It means a lot,” Thomas told Alex Marvez and former Bills General Manager Bill Polian on Late Hits. “To have it retired with Jim Kelly and Bruce Smith, two guys that I played a number of years with, to be up there and to have that number retired, it wasn’t done by myself. And I remember the guys who wore it before me: Booker Moore, Cookie Gilchrest.
“It hasn’t been worn since I retired. I was fine with that, but when I talked to (Bills co-owners) Kim and Terry Pegula and they said that they wanted to retire my number, it meant a lot, especially coming from some owners that I didn’t play for. So that makes it real, real special for me and my family.”
‘If I had to pick one (game), it would be probably the opening game of 1991, when I rushed for like 165 yards but also had over 100 yards receiving’
Thomas had a hard time choosing his most memorable performance, which is understandable considering he made a difference in so many games. His personal list includes Super Bowl XXV, in which he likely would have been named MVP had the Bills not suffered a 20-19 loss after Scott Norwood’s missed field goal in the final seconds. There also was the Bills’ 34-31 regular-season victory at San Francisco in 1992. Thomas had a touchdown catch and a TD run in a game in which neither team punted.
“That game, right there, is special,” he said. “But if I had to pick one, it would be probably the opening game of 1991, when I rushed for like 165 yards but also had over 100 yards receiving (and two touchdowns in a 35-31 victory) against the Miami Dolphins.
‘The crowd gave me a standing ovation’
“To be on the sideline (when) the game was about to end and they announced over the loudspeaker that I was the first Bill in the history of the Buffalo Bills to rush for and have receiving yards over a hundred yards, all my teammates came up to me and congratulated me. The crowd gave me a standing ovation, so I would probably put that game ahead of all of them.”
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