Pierre Thomas (American football)
No. 23 New Orleans Saints
|Date of birth:December 18, 1984|
|Place of birth: Chicago, Illinois|
|High school: Lansing (IL) T. F. South|
|Undrafted in 2007|
|Debuted in 2007 for the New Orleans Saints|
|Roster status: Active|
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 16, 2013
Charles Pierre Thomas Jr. (born December 18, 1984) is an American football running back for the New Orleans Saints in the National Football League. He was signed by the Saints as an undrafted free agent in 2007. He played college football at Illinois.
Thomas played high school football at Thornton Fractional South High School in Lansing, Illinois, where he ran for 5,565 yards and 88 touchdowns in his career. He was twice named to the all-state teams of the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times and as a senior he was player of the year for the Champaign News-Gazette. Some of his self-taught practice for high school football included running up a steep hill with a backpack full of books on and pushing cars around.
He was recruited by the University of Illinois. He led the team in rushing for three seasons. In 40 games he ran for 2,545 yards (6th all-time in Illinois history) and 20 touchdowns, had 57 catches for 411 yards and 3 TDs, and a total of 4,451 all-purpose yards (then second all-time at Illinois). Nevertheless, he was not invited to the NFL combine, and ultimately he was not selected in the 2007 NFL Draft.
Thomas signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent, on the recommendation of special teams coach Greg McMahon, who had previously been an assistant at Illinois. He was impressive in preseason games and the Saints ultimately decided to keep him while releasing the running back they had chosen with their fourth round draft pick, Antonio Pittman.
Thomas developed into an all-around threat as a runner, pass catcher, blocker, and special teams player. He led the team in rushing yards in 2008 and 2009 and again in 2013, when he also led all NFL running backs in receiving yards. He became known for his excellence in executing the screen pass; it was a screen pass on which he scored the Saints' first touchdown in their 31-17 win over Indianapolis in Super Bowl XLIV, two weeks after he had scored two touchdowns in the Saints' 2009 NFC Championship game victory.
He signed a new four-year contract before the 2011 season, and in March 2014 he signed a two-year contract extension, ending widely reported speculation that he might be released due to team salary cap problems.
Thomas was born on Chicago's South Side, the son of Charles and Greta Thomas. His parents divorced a few years later and Greta moved with her children to Lynwood, Illinois, where she worked for the United States Postal Service. He has been reported to be of Haitian descent.
In 2013 he was the Saints' team nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award in acknowledgment of his extensive charitable activities, including his iCan Foundation, which fights childhood obesity.
- New Orleans Saints bio for Pierre Thomas (accessed 2014-12-17).
- Triplett, Mike (2010-02-06). "New Orleans Pelicans' Pierre Thomas has plenty to smile about". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved 2010-02-14.
- "Pierre Thomas". The Fighting Illini. 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2013-03-30.
- Greg Bishop, "Healthy Running Back Has Saints Recalling Title Run", The New York Times, January 11, 2012.
- Totalfootballstats.com. "2003 Illinois Fighting Illini". Totalfootballstats.com. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
- Totalfootballstats.com. "2004 Illinois Fighting Illini". Totalfootballstats.com. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
- Total Football Stats. "2005 Illinois Fighting Illini". Totalfootballstats.com. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
- Total Football Stats. "2006 Illinois Fighting Illini". Totalfootballstats.com. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
- Mike Triplett, "Brees: Thomas NFL's best all-purpose back", ESPN.com, July 30, 2014.
- Chris Wesseling, "Pierre Thomas tops New Orleans Saints' RB depth chart", NFL.com, August 5, 2013.
- Ramon Antonio Vargas, "Stop fretting, Saints fans: Pierre Thomas is staying put, agent says", The Advocate, March 12, 2014.
- Sean Jensen, "Finally, A P-T Player", Chicago Sun-Times, February 6, 2010.
- "These Days, Everybody's All-American Just May Be a Haitian". Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- "NFL urges contributions to Haitian earthquake relief". Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Mike Triplett, "Saints nominate Thomas as Man of the Year", ESPN.com, December 10, 2013.