Bill Thomas (American football)
No. 27, 28, 43
|Date of birth:August 7, 1949|
|Place of birth: Ossining, New York|
|College: Boston College|
|NFL Draft: 1972 / Round: 1 / Pick: 26|
|Debuted in 1972|
|Last played in 1974|
Career NFL statistics
|Stats at pro-football-reference.com|
William Jeffrey "Bill" Thomas (born August 7, 1949 in Ossining, New York) is a former professional American football running back in the National Football League. He played three seasons for the Dallas Cowboys (1972), the Houston Oilers (1973), and the Kansas City Chiefs (1974). He was drafted by the Cowboys in the first round of the 1972 NFL Draft out of Boston College.
Thomas attended Peekskill High School before moving on to Boston College. In April 1970, he dislocated his left shoulder playing basketball, so he had to wear a harness during the football season, until he was forced to have surgery and miss games. In 1971 he helped the school achieve their best record (9-2) in a season since 1954.
His versatility running and blocking was valued by the team, so he spent his playing time between the halfback and fullback positions. He recorded a total of 932 career rushing yards and he never was the leading rusher of his team.
Coming off their Super Bowl VI win, the Dallas Cowboys entered the 1972 NFL Draft worried about the future of Duane Thomas and the injury history of Calvin Hill, so they focused on their running back depth. With their first round draft choice they selected Thomas, who was ranked sixth overall on their draft board and with their second draft choice they selected Robert Newhouse.
He never fully recovered from the left shoulder injury he suffered in college and re-injured it during a dummy blocking drill in training camp. He went through surgery to repair the staple pin that was used to secure the shoulder in the original operation and was placed on injured reserve. He was activated for the ninth game of the season, so that first year he touched ball only twice during kickoff returns.
Kansas City Chiefs
Thomas was a teacher for more than 27 years, while also serving as coach and administrator at Madison Park High School and Gavin Middle School. He also had a stint with the football coaching staff of Northeastern University.