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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Thurman Thomas

     (Born May 16, 1966) -- Many Buffalo Bills' fans remember their first look at Thurman Thomas. He wasn't the happiest of men.

     Thomas attended Oklahoma State, where he played with another good running back in Barry Sanders. However, he injured his knee while playing for the Cowboys and slipped out of the first round of the NFL Draft.

     ESPN was in its infancy when it came to televising the draft, and it showed Thomas waiting and waiting to be taken. Finally, he went to the Buffalo Bills in the second round.

     You'd have to say it worked out well for both sides. Thomas became the greatest all-around running back in Bills history. Thomas could run, catch passes, and block. If he had been a step faster, he might have been the greatest running back ever. But what we saw here was pretty good Ñ a league MVP and an eventual Hall of Famer.

     Thomas stayed with the Bills for 12 seasons, and jumped to the Dolphins for a year in 2000 when Buffalo had salary cap problems. That just didn't seem right. Thomas came back to Buffalo in 2001 to sign a one-day contract so he could retire a Bill. He's back in Western New York now, hopefully for good.

--- Budd Bailey

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