Bills to retire Thurman Thomas’s number 34

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Thurman Thomas will become just the third player in the history of the Buffalo Bills to have his number retired.

The Bills announced today that Thomas’s No. 34 jersey will be hung in the rafters during the Bills’ Monday Night Football game against the Patriots on October 29.

Thomas will join his former teammates Jim Kelly (No. 12) and Bruce Smith (No. 78) as the only players with their jerseys retired by the Bills. The team also does not give out O.J. Simpson’s No. 32, although his number hasn’t been formally retired.

Today was a good day to announce the move, as it’s Thomas’s 52nd birthday.

Thomas played for the Bills from 1988 to 1999. He was a first-team All-Pro three times and league MVP in 1991. A running back who was also an excellent receiver, Thomas led the league in yards from scrimmage four years in a row from 1989 to 1992.

64 responses to “Bills to retire Thurman Thomas’s number 34

  1. Well deserved!

    When people say the RB position is devalued, I always point to how a great one like Thurman completely changes games.

  2. What took so long? You’d think they would have done this was he was elected into the HOF 10 years ago.

  3. I guess better late than never but this sure took long enough. Was part of the best backfield in college history with Barry Sanders.

  4. I wonder how many clowns are going to make old “clever” jokes in regards to him misplacing helmet in the SB. Two takers already lol.

  5. Harry Knutzak says:
    May 16, 2018 at 11:19 am
    Average back at best, just like Reed and Kelly, couldn’t win the big one, 4 straight SB losses, just sad

    ———-

    Why hate on them… I don’t get it. Those Bills teams were really great. The NFC teams were just better at that time for the most part. They won 14 out of 15 Super Bowls for a stretch there. Thomas was a great back and his number deserves to be retired.

  6. Sorry OJ fans but Thurman was the best RB we ever had. He got us in the playoffs many times. About time his number got retired.

  7. Well finally he did get a RING….it really is something that the Bills made it to all those consectective Super Bowls and have no trophy to show for it. Would like to see Buffalo fix that in the future. (You too Vikings!)

  8. Did Thurman Thomas kill someone or something?!?

    His number should have been retired years ago!!!

    A very COMPLETE running back.

  9. Jessica Brock says:
    May 16, 2018 at 11:39 am
    What’s so special about OJ’s number?
    —————————
    It’s not so much “special” – it’s that no player wants the ignominy of wearing it and the Bills don’t want the added reminders/comments from putting it on the field.

  10. Just happens to be Cookie Gilchrist’s number as well. It’s good that number is being retired.

  11. magnumpimustache says:
    May 16, 2018 at 11:34 am
    Why and How is the K gun offense not duplicated is beyond me???
    ==============================

    Wasn’t the “K Gun” just a hurry up offense? Preventing the other teams defense from substitutions? Not sure if you have ever head of Peyton Manning, had a few good games (sarcasm), made an entire career out of that…

  12. Harry Knutzak says:
    May 16, 2018 at 11:19 am
    Average… just like Reed and Kelly, couldn’t win the big one, 4 straight SB losses, just sad.
    ———————————–
    Some talk for a Raiders fan whose team hasn’t won the SB since 1983 – and btw the last 2 times they met Bills in the playoffs were when they got wupped on the Bill’s path to the SB. That’s sad.

  13. Liberalsruineverything says:
    May 16, 2018 at 12:12 pm
    He was the OG of the true dual threat 3 down backs.

    —————————–

    The name is Craig, Roger Craig.

  14. Thurman was almost as good of a receiver as he was a running back. It used to be debated all the time who was better, Thurman or Barry Sanders. Both were amazing.

  15. Charles Territo says:
    May 16, 2018 at 11:54 am
    Sorry OJ fans but Thurman was the best RB we ever had. He got us in the playoffs many times. About time his number got retired.
    ——————————————

    You are obviously too young to have seen OJ play………he carried that team for years….

  16. “He was the OG of the true dual threat 3 down backs”
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    “The name is Craig, Roger Craig”
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Gale Sayers, Walter Payton, James Brooks, etc..

  17. bvolke says:
    May 16, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Thurman was almost as good of a receiver as he was a running back. It used to be debated all the time who was better, Thurman or Barry Sanders. Both were amazing.
    _____________________________________________

    Both were amazing but all due respect to Thomas I don’t recall any serious debate, Sanders wins that one in a walk.

  18. streetyson says:
    May 16, 2018 at 12:26 pm
    Harry Knutzak says:
    May 16, 2018 at 11:19 am
    Average… just like Reed and Kelly, couldn’t win the big one, 4 straight SB losses, just sad.
    ———————————–
    Some talk for a Raiders fan whose team hasn’t won the SB since 1983 – and btw the last 2 times they met Bills in the playoffs were when they got wupped on the Bill’s path to the SB. That’s sad.

    3-2 in SB’s will always be better than 0-4, thats PATHETRIC! HAHAHA!!

  19. Jessica Brock says:
    May 16, 2018 at 11:39 am
    What’s so special about OJ’s number?

    ==============================================================

    So….OJ was #32 and Thurman was #34. Try Google Image.

  20. akaodoyle says:
    May 16, 2018 at 12:27 pm
    Liberalsruineverything says:
    May 16, 2018 at 12:12 pm
    He was the OG of the true dual threat 3 down backs.

    —————————–

    The name is Craig, Roger Craig.
    ——————————

    Roger Craig was overrated and will never be in the HOF. Thomas was one of the best ever.

  21. idiedpretty says:
    May 16, 2018 at 1:25 pm
    Wake me when he makes the NFL HOF.

    ==========================================

    That means you should have been woken up 11 years ago…HOF class of 2007.

  22. idiedpretty says:
    May 16, 2018 at 1:25 pm
    Wake me when he makes the NFL HOF.
    ———————————–
    Uhhhh, he is in the Hall of Fame, inducted in 2007.

    Usually you should try to find the correct information before posting an underwhelming comment like that.

  23. Average back at best, just like Reed and Kelly, couldn’t win the big one, 4 straight SB losses, just sad
    ======

    Only 11 running backs have more all-purpose yards.

    He has more total yards than Jim Brown, Tony Dorsett and Eric Dickerson.

    He’s legend.

  24. Average back at best, just like Reed and Kelly, couldn’t win the big one, 4 straight SB losses, just sad
    //////
    You haven’t played football. TT was a beast. This ain’t Madden. Only thing sad is millenials thinking they know

  25. As a Jets’ fan I hated Thurman Thomas and I mean that out of respect. He killed the Jets. An absolute brilliant player. And I really respect that when he slowed down at the end of his career he wasn’t a diva and slid into a part time role. A total pro and team player.

  26. Now the 3rd “safe” jersey to get! Funny I know someone who gave away a Bruce orig to a kid and thought it was so nice. Later found out there was a reason behind it and it was a pretty rotten reason. But Kelly, Bruce, and now Thurman are ones that we can wear proudly and not worry about injury bust or trade!

  27. What a great team that was. If ever a title-less team deserved a SB, it’s that one. And I say that as a Cowboys fan – they were terrific.

  28. Charles Territo says:
    May 16, 2018 at 11:54 am
    Sorry OJ fans but Thurman was the best RB we ever had. He got us in the playoffs many times. About time his number got retired.

    ———–

    Not even close. OJ is arguable one of the top 2-3 RBs to ever play the game. The defense knew OJ as getting the ball pretty much every play and still could’t stop him

  29. Thurman. My bad. I didn’t realize he was in the Hall. Congrats to him, hell of a player. And to Bills fans everywhere, you had a unprecedented run of Super Bowls. I was really rooting for you to bag one. My team lost 4 until we got one. It will happen. Keep the faith!!

  30. In Buffalo and other hard partying areas they call this a moment of clarity!

    wtf took so long???

  31. “Jessica Brock says: May 16, 2018 at 11:39 am What’s so special about OJ’s number?”

    Jessica, the man’s reputation aside, YouTube some of O.J.’s runs and you will see what was so special. Also, first RB to break the 2000 yd barrier, and he did it in 14 games.

  32. Not even close. OJ is arguable one of the top 2-3 RBs to ever play the game. The defense knew OJ as getting the ball pretty much every play and still could’t stop him
    ======

    That would be an interesting conversation.

    He had 3 amazing seasons, 2 really good years, and 6 really average/poor ones.

    All the greats people would argue (Barry, Emmitt, Jim Brown, Sweetness..) didn’t suffer dropoffs like that.

  33. magnumpimustache says:
    May 16, 2018 at 11:34 am
    Why and How is the K gun offense not duplicated is beyond me???
    ———

    The K gun itself was duplicated from the Bengals, who rode the “sugar huddle” to the Super Bowl in 1988. The no huddle was a Sam Wyche invention. The Bills complained about when the Bengals used it on them, then the Bills come out with the “K gun” the following year. Before you give me thumbs down, look it up.

  34. ValarMorghulis says:
    May 16, 2018 at 1:46 pm
    idiedpretty says:
    May 16, 2018 at 1:25 pm
    Wake me when he makes the NFL HOF.
    ———————————–
    Uhhhh, he is in the Hall of Fame, inducted in 2007.

    Usually you should try to find the correct information before posting an underwhelming comment like that.
    ————

    We live in an era where kids don’t care about facts. Stupidity is fully embraced.

  35. idiedpretty says:
    May 16, 2018 at 1:25 pm
    Wake me when he makes the NFL HOF.

    ***********************************

    Not to pile on, but did you give your alarm clock to Ryan Mallett???

  36. About damn time they retired #34.

    As for OJ’s #32. That should have been retired long ago.

  37. Surly this couldn’t be the thurman thomas that quit on his team in the Superbowl.
    It has to be some other guy. That thurman thomas retired hisownself when he went over to the bench after fumbling the ball away and put his head in his hands.
    Hall of shame for that guy.

  38. The K gun itself was duplicated from the Bengals, who rode the “sugar huddle” to the Super Bowl in 1988. The no huddle was a Sam Wyche invention. The Bills complained about when the Bengals used it on them, then the Bills come out with the “K gun” the following year. Before you give me thumbs down, look it up.

    Good point. The only real difference was the bengals used many short huddles and close to the line huddles where as the bills ran the first full time no huddle . Basically they took the bengals idea and made it better with kelly calling plays at the line

  39. Another thing was the K Gun as used by the Bills only had a handful of plays which enabled them to use it much quicker. Plays were designed with multiple choices during the play too.

  40. unclebluck says:
    May 16, 2018 at 12:36 pm
    Charles Territo says:
    May 16, 2018 at 11:54 am
    Sorry OJ fans but Thurman was the best RB we ever had. He got us in the playoffs many times. About time his number got retired.
    ——————————————

    You are obviously too young to have seen OJ play………he carried that team for years….
    ————————

    Carried them to what?

    OJ played in one playoff game in his entire career. He averaged 3.3 yds on 15 carries in that game and they lost.

    Thurman Thomas scored 21 postseason touchdowns in 21 postseason games. The Bills went to the playoffs 10 out of his 12 years with the team, and won 11 postseason games.

    Charles Territo knows what he’s talking about.

  41. Shocked that they haven’t done this already. I don’t get it. Great player. If the Bills would have won that first SB, there’s no doubt Thurman gets the MVP. You could make a decent argument that he deserved it anyway even though they lost.

  42. Something this article should probably have mentioned is the number of unofficially retired jerseys in Buffalo. OJ Simpsons 32 is “unofficially retired” meaning the equipment staff outright refuses to issue it, despite the fact that its not retired.

    The Bills also have whats called “restricted circulation” numbers. Things like Andre Reeds 83, Billy Shaws 66, and Elbert Dubenions 44. There numbers are generally refused to nay player that asks for them. They are assigned for the offseason if they run out of NFL mandated numbers for a position but it is expected that the player give it up for the regular season. Its been documented that if a player wants to wear these numbers in the regular season, the equipment staff needs direct permission from the team owner and the blessing of the player who wore it in the day (as was the case when 1st round pick Lee Evans asked for and received Jersey 83)

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