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This Day in Bills History, Sept. 4: Thurman wastes no time

Sept. 4, 1988 – Opening Day doesn't have the same ring to it in football than it does in baseball. Still, it's a great time to start making judgments about rookies.

There were plenty of thumbs-up signals by Bills' fans on this day after watching Thurman Thomas play his first game in a Buffalo uniform.

You might remember Thomas suffering through the NFL Draft the previous April, as he waited to see where he finally would be taken. Thomas eventually went to the Bills in the second round.

It didn't take Thomas long to make an impact. In fact, he scored his first professional touchdown in the first quarter of the first game, a home contest against the Minnesota Vikings.

Thomas finished the day with 18 carries for 86 yards and the score. Jim Kelly was 17 of 31 for 204 yards, while Andre Reed caught eight passes for 78 yards. The Bills finished with a 13-10 win. It was the first time that the Bills had won on Opening Day since 1982.

We heard a lot about those three players in the years ahead, as they played a major role in the Buffalo Bills' four straight Super Bowl appearances.

Budd Bailey is a retired sports reporter and editor at The Buffalo News. He is also the author of "Today in Buffalo Sports History." Learn more about the book here.

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