One of the greatest running backs in the history of the NFL played for the Buffalo Bills. Of course that running back is Thurman Thomas and he played almost his entire career for the Buffalo Bills.A knee injury damaged Thurman Thomas’s certain first round pick status and caused him to slip into second round (40th overall) of the 1988 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills, their first choice in the draft. Thurman Thomas is well known as part of the offense that included Jim Kelly and Andre Reed, which led the Bills to four straight Super Bowl appearances.
Thurman Thomas was the AFC rushing leader in 1990, 1991, and 1993. In the first three seasons of this career, Thomas had a total of 12 games with at least 100 yards rushing. The Bills won every one of those games. In 1989 and 1990, his combined total yards from scrimmage was 3,742. This was more than 200 yards better than any other player in the NFL. Thurman Thomas was voted to the All-Pro team in 1990 and 1991, was selected to 5 straight Pro Bowls from 1989–1993, and was named NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1991, after becoming the 11th player in NFL history to finish a season with over 2,000 all-purpose yards. Currently, Thurman Thomas is 12th on the NFL all-time list for most rushing yards in a career.
Thurman currently holds the all-time Buffalo Bills rushing record with 11,938 yards and the team record for yards from scrimmage with 16,279 over 12 years. He is also 4th overall in team scoring. Overall, Thurman Thomas finished his 13 seasons (his 13th season he played for Miami) with 12,074 rushing yards, 472 receptions for 4,458 yards, and 88 touchdowns (65 rushing and 23 receiving) with 16,532 total yards from scrimmage. His 472 receptions were especially impressive considering he was almost never used as a receiver out of the backfield in college. In his four years at Oklahoma State, Thurman Thomas caught 2 passes for 15 yards. He is one of six players (Jim Brown, Lenny Moore, Marcus Allen, Marshall Faulk, and Herschel Walker) to exceed 60 TDs rushing and 20 TDs receiving.
Thurman Thomas is the only player in NFL history to lead the league in total yards from scrimmage for four consecutive seasons. He is one of only six running backs to have over 400 receptions and 10,000 yards rushing. Walter Payton, Marshall Faulk, Marcus Allen, Tiki Barber, and LaDainian Tomlinson are the other five. Thurman Thomas is also one of five running backs to have rushed for over 1,000 yards in 8 consecutive seasons along with Curtis Martin, Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith and Tomlinson.
Thurman Thomas also set NFL playoff records with the most career points (126), touchdowns (21), and consecutive playoff games with a touchdown (9). Overall, he rushed for 1,442 yards and caught 76 passes for 672 yards in his 21 postseason games. In a 1989 playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns, Thurman Thomas recorded 13 receptions for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns, which was a postseason record for receptions by a running back and tied tight end Kellen Winslow’s record for most receptions in a playoff game. He is also the first player ever to score a touchdown in 4 consecutive Super Bowls.
Thurman Thomas played for the Buffalo Bills for 12 seasons. When the Bills ran out of money under their salary cap in 2000, Thomas signed with the arch-rival Miami Dolphins. He suffered a knee injury on November 12, 2000 against the San Diego Chargers which ended his NFL career. After deciding to retire, Thurman signed a one-day contract on February 27, 2001 with Buffalo so that he could retire as a Bill.Thurman Thomas was first eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. In that year, he made it to the list of ten finalists, but was not one of the six players elected to the Hall that year. He was selected on February 3, 2007, to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.