|Date of birth:||April 13, 1956|
|Place of birth:||Los Angeles, California|
|Height:||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight:||176 lb (80 kg)|
|High school:||Santa Monica High School|
|NFL draft:||1978 / Round: 11 / Pick: 306|
Career NFL statistics as of 1986
|INT return yards:||562|
|Stats at NFL.com|
Dennis Lee Thurman (born April 13, 1956 in Los Angeles, California) is a retired American football cornerback in the National Football League. He is currently the defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills.
Thurman played high school football at Santa Monica High School where he was a quarterback and defensive back and was a part of three CIF Division I championship teams that combined to go 39-1-1. He is the older brother of Ulysses "Junior" Thurman who also attended Santa Monica High (1981) and went on to play college football at the University of Southern California and play in the Canadian Football League (CFL).
Thurman played college football at University of Southern California where he graduated in 1977 as a two-time All-America safety and flanker and was part of the 1974 National Champion team. Thurman played for John McKay and later for John Robinson and was teammates with Ronnie Lott while at USC while Lott was an underclassmen. Lott credits Thurman for his development as a player in his Pro Football Hall of Fame speech stating Thurman was someone who "helped me become a better football player."
In his Trojan career, he had 13 interceptions, returning two for touchdowns, and led the Pac-10 Conference in interceptions with eight in 1976. Thurman also had 169 career tackles, 11 pass deflections and four fumble recoveries. He was USC's MVP in 1977 and won USC's Defensive Player of the Year Award in 1977. He played in the 1978 Senior Bowl and was a 1977 Playboy Pre-Season All-American. He led USC in interceptions in 1976 (eight, tops in the Pac-8) and led USC in punt returns in 1976 (68 yards). Thurman is tied for sixth on USC's career interception list (13, including two intercepted fumbles).
Thurman a fifth-year player from USC, was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 11th round of the 1978 NFL Draft, and although his experience was at safety, he originally made the team as a cornerback.
In 1980 he won the starting free safety position. The next year Charlie Waters retired and cornerback Benny Barnes, was moved to strong safety, so Thurman was pressed into starting at cornerback where he would remain for the rest of his Cowboys career. 1981 was also the year he made his only Pro Bowl.
During the 1985 season quarterback Danny White nicknamed Thurman along with fellow safety Michael Downs and cornerbacks Everson Walls, Ron Fellows, "Thurman's Thieves", for their opportunistic play in the secondary.
Saint Louis Cardinals
Thurman was part of the Baltimore Ravens coaching staff from 2002 to 2008.