The Buffalo Bills have announced the team will retire the No. 34 jersey of Thurman Thomas this year, according to NFL.com and other news sources.
Thomas was a key member of the Bills’ run to glory that reached the Super Bowl four years in a row but never hoisted a Lombardi Trophy.
Thurman Thomas 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, 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.
As Herbie Teope of NFL.com wrote, “The Buffalo Bills announced Wednesday that Thurman Thomas’ No. 34 jersey will become the third number retired in franchise history when the Bills host the New England Patriots on Monday, Oct. 29. Thomas will join quarterback Jim Kelly and defensive end Bruce Smith to receive such recognition from the Bills.”
Thomas was the AFC rushing leader in 1990, 1991, and 1993. In the first three seasons of his 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.
He 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, he is 15th on the NFL all-time list for most rushing yards in a career.
Thurman Thomas is the only player in NFL history to lead the league in total yards from scrimmage for four consecutive seasons. A knee injury damaged Thomas’s certain first-round pick status and caused him to slip into the second round (40th overall) of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills, their first choice in the draft. 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.