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PostPosted: 22 Feb 2019 07:18:42    Post subject:  www.officialpatriotslockerroom.com
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Thurman Thomas was in the midst of getting taped up before a Bills game at Chicago during his rookie season in 1988 when the running back recognized the unmistakable voice of one of his teenage idols
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, Walter Payton."I can still hear it," Thomas recalled, before attempting to imitate Payton. "Yeah, a high-pitched voice like that: 'Where's that little No. 34?'"Thomas certainly knew who Payton was, given the Bears' just-retired star running back was one of two people who inspired him to wear No. 34 since high school. The other was Oilers running back Earl Campbell, whom Thomas grew up rooting for in Houston; all three are Pro Football Hall of Famers now.What shocked him was someone such as Payton knowing Thomas even existed, never mind taking the time to search him out before the opening kickoff."He's walking in and everybody stopped, and it was just like, 'Holy crap, it's Walter Payton,'" Thomas said. "I'm still trying to figure out how he knew me. I mean, I'm in Buffalo. I'm a rookie. And he comes in and it's, 'Where's 34?'"And I'm like, 'I'm over here.'"It won't be difficult to spot 34 at halftime of Buffalo's home game against New England on Monday night. That's when Thomas will become the third Bills player 鈥? joining former teammates quarterback Jim Kelly and defensive end Bruce Smith 鈥?to have his number retired.For all he accomplished during a 13-year Hall of Fame career, in which he was voted NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year in 1991 and led the league in yards from scrimmage from 1989-92, Thomas considers this one of his most notable achievements."The more I get closer to it, the more and more I feel like these butterflies are coming into my stomach," he added. "And I've never really felt that way about a lot of things. But, definitely
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, this is one of them."Thomas would have preferred being honored during an afternoon game rather than a prime-time spectacle."I'm not Bruce," he said, making a joke at the expense of Smith, who had his No. 78 retired during a night game in 2016.His one concern is how the rebuilding and offensively challenged Bills, who have managed just 81 points in a 2-5 record, might fare against Tom Brady and the Patriots (5-2), who have won 31 of the past 36 meetings between the AFC East rivals."I just wish we could have a better record," he said.These are certainly not the Bills of Thomas' 12-season tenure, which included Buffalo playing in four consecutive Super Bowls, losing them all.He previously suggested the Bills might have been cursed for cutting him, Smith and Hall of Fame receiver Andre Reed after the 1999 season. What followed was a 17-year playoff drought, which finally ended last year.Perhaps, Thomas said, his mere presence might spur the Bills to be competitive. Bills veteran defensive tackle Kyle Williams certainly hopes so.Williams and his wife treated Thomas and his wife to dinner last week, during which Thomas cited Williams as saying: "Hey, we're going to do whatever we can to make that night even more special."Williams didn't deny being additionally motivated because of Thomas."That's the plan, right?" Williams said. "Sure, anybody who knows him, and knows the kind of guy he is
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, and what he meant and means to this franchise, I think it should motivate you."The outcome is almost secondary to Thomas, who was busy reflecting back on a career in which his number has already been retired at high school and college.He was motivated to succeed at Oklahoma State once he began sharing the backfield with another eventual Hall of Famer, Barry Sanders."He kept me on my heels. I couldn't make any mistakes," he said. "If we ran 10 sprints, I ran 11."If it wasn't for Thomas tearing a left knee ligament before his junior season, he wouldn't have elected to return for his senior year, when he met his wife, Patti, who just happened to be from Buffalo. Some eight months later, the Bills selected him in the second round.His voice cracks with emotion when reminded no Bills player will ever wear No. 34 again. And no, Thomas said, no one should expect him to suit up one last time."I've been asked that question a lot this week. Oh my gosh, I'm like, 'People, I'm 52 years old. There's no way in hell I can get out there and do this," he said, before a brief pause."Maybe," Thomas said
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, breaking into a smile, "for 1 yard or something like that on the goal line." Phillip Lindsay didn’t receive an invitation to the NFL scouting combine and his name wasn’t called during the draft.Motivated by the snub, he made history.The talented Denver Broncos running back became the first undrafted offensive player selected for the Pro Bowl as a rookie. He heads the list of undrafted rookies who’ve made an impact this season.“At one point, I was just trying to make the team,” Lindsay said. “I was hoping to do some (gunner) reps, some kick return and hopefully catch some balls at punt return. When they gave me the news that I was going to the Pro Bowl, it was just a real emotional moment.”Baltimore Ravens running back Gus Edwards, Philadelphia Eagles running back Josh Adams, New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson and Minnesota Vikings cornerback Holton Hill have also made significant contributions to their teams after 32 teams passed on them in the draft.Lindsay signed with his hometown club after playing four seasons at Colorado and was bold enough to seek permission from Hall of Famer Terrell Davis to wear his old No. 30 jersey after he earned a spot on the Broncos. He had 71 yards rushing in his debut and 107 yards in his second game. Lindsay moved into the starting lineup in Week 8 and had 1,037 yards, an average of 5.4 yards per carry and nine touchdowns. He also had 35 catches for 241 yards and one TD.Lindsay was injured in the Broncos’ Week 16 loss to Oakland. He will miss the regular-season finale against the Chargers and is expected to be out for the Pro Bowl because of a right wrist injury, a person with knowledge of the MRI results told The Associated Press.Lindsay is the third undrafted rookie with 1,000 yards in a season, joining Dominic Rhodes (1,104 in 2001) and LeGarrette Blount (1,007 in 2010).“To be able to be elected to a Pro Bowl by your teammates, the people you’re playing against, the coaches, that means the world
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,” Lindsay said. “That means that they respect you. … Nobody knew about me when I first got here, other than I was little.”Lindsay ran for 2,726 yards and 30 TDs in his final two seasons in college but was passed over in the draft mainly because of his size — he’s 5-foot-8. He had offers from other teams but chose the Broncos so he could live in his parents’ basement and save money.“His first day with us, he was the sixth halfback on the depth chart. The sixth!” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said. “Obviously, being a rookie free agent. Didn’t go to the combine. Wasn’t drafted. … He came in here just trying to make our football team.”Here’s a look at other undrafted rookies making an impact:GUS EDWARDS: After playing three seasons at Miami and transferring to Rutgers for his final year of eligibility, Edwards signed a three-year contract with the Ravens in May. He began the season on the practice squad, played his first game in October and got just 15 carries in his first five games. Then Edwards had back-to-back 100-yard games as Lamar Jackson took over for the injured Joe Flacco at quarterback, and the Ravens (9-6) turned into a run-dominant offense and took the lead in the AFC North. Edwards leads the team with 642 yards, has a 5.1 average and two TDs. Jackson is right behind him with 605 yards on the ground. A Baltimore win Sunday earns it the AFC North title.JOSH ADAMS: Despite running for 3,201 yards and 20 TDs in three seasons at Notre Dame, Adams had to go the free-agent route. He signed with the Super Bowl champions, earned a spot on the practice squad and made his NFL debut in Week 3. Adams got his chance after starter Jay Ajayi went down for the season, and Darren Sproles and Corey Clement were sidelined by injuries. He’s emerged as the leading rusher with 461 yards, has a 4.2 average and three TDs, helping the Eagles (8-7) remain in the playoff chase.J.C. JACKSON: From Malcolm Butler to James Develin, the Patriots have scored often with undrafted rookies. Jackson, out of Florida Riverside Community College, is the latest to make a statement. One of the players New England picked up to help plug the hole left following Butler’s offseason departure, Jackson has appeared in 12 games and started the past four. The team’s confidence in him has grown each week and he’s performed well
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, hauling in a pair of interceptions. He’s been on the field for 89.3 percent of the snaps since December, and played every snap against the Bills. Jackson drew primary coverage duty on Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and held him to four catches for 40 yards on 10 targets in a Week 15 loss.HOLTON HILL: Hill has played a lot on special teams and started two games for Minnesota, one each for regulars Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes because of injuries. He has one interception and seven pass breakups and has generally held up well in coverage when tested by a tough slate of opposing quarterbacks: Aaron Rodgers twice, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, and Matthew Stafford.ROBERT FOSTER: A wide receiver out of Alabama, Foster has 23 catches for 520 yards and two TDs for the Bills. His average of 22.6 yards per catch leads the team.FRANKIE LUVU: The linebacker out of Washington State has played in 13 games for the Jets and has three sacks.SHARIF FINCH: A linebacker out of Temple, Finch has been a key player on both defense and special teams for the Titans. Before injuring his shoulder in Week 15, he had 20 tackles, 1˝ sacks, two quarterback pressures and two tackles for loss. He also has forced two fumbles and recovered another.POONA FORD: The defensive tackle was the Big 12 defensive player of the year his senior year at Texas, but his size (5-foot-11, 310) caused teams to shy away from him. He’s played in 10 games for the Seahawks, including one start, and been strong in the run game.
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PostPosted: 22 Feb 2019 07:18:42    Post subject: Adv






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