The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Rodney Thomas, who played running back for the Oilers, Titans and Falcons, dies at age 41
FORT WORTH, Texas - Rodney Thomas, who played running back for the Houston Oilers, Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons during a seven-year NFL career, has died. He was 41.
Thomas died Saturday at the home in Groveton, a small East Texas town where he grew up, that he bought for his mother after signing his first professional contract, Groveton Funeral Home owner Terry Cartwright said Sunday. The cause of death wasn't known and an autopsy was underway, he said.
The Oilers selected the Texas A&M running back in the 3rd round of the 1995 draft, and he ran for 947 yards and five touchdowns during his rookie season. The team finished the season 7-9, though, and drafted Heisman Trophy-winning running back Eddie George in the first round the following spring, making Thomas a backup.
Thomas remained with the team as a backup after it moved to Tennessee and became the Titans, but eclipsed 200 rushing yards in a season only once more, when he ran for 310 yards during the Titans' 1997 campaign.
He played in Super Bowl XXIV, when the Titans lost to the Rams, and played his seventh and final season with the Atlanta Falcons in 2001. He finished his career with 1,973 rushing yards, 631 receiving yards and 15 total touchdowns.
Cartwright said Thomas had been living in Spring, near Houston, with his wife and 4-year-old child, and that he often visited Groveton on business and to see his mother and other relatives who live in town. He said Thomas was well-liked in the community because he was "down to earth and humble."
Thomas led the high school football team to two back-to-back state championships, in 1989 and 1990. He led the Aggies in rushing for four straight seasons, and in 1994, his teammates gave him the Aggie Heart Award, an award for a Texas A&M senior football player who demonstrates effort, determination, leadership and courage.
"What a great young guy he was," former Texas A&M football coach R.C. Slocum told The Associated Press. "He made the greatest impact on his teammates of all the guys I've ever coached."
Follow Emily Schmall on Twitter at https://twitter.com/emilyschmall
Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
(1 of 50 articles for this week)3:18 AM 0
Photo Store Gallery
- Jon Ryan has been the Seattle Seahawks' lonely punter during quiet preseason
- Struggling '49ers offensive line looks to make adjustments in a hurry for final preseason game
- Buffalo Bills shuffle backup QBs by signing Jordan Palmer and releasing Thad Lewis
- NFL cuts overshadowed by Mankins trade, players put on injured reserve
- NFL 2014: Packers seeking 4th straight NFC North title, look for boost from Peppers, defence
- Construction ahead: Browns running out of time to address problems before opener with Steelers
- Attorney: Hearing for Browns WR Josh Gordon's DWI case in North Carolina moved to Nov. 18
- With Whitehurst's finger still sore, Titans sign QB Dominique Davis to help finish preseason
- Indianapolis already has plan when Mathis begins serves 4-game suspension
- Hill confident as he takes over as Rams quarterback after Bradford's season-ending injury
- NFL coaches no longer leaving locker-rooms just to the players
- Minnesota Vikings adding $19 million to stadium project to guarantee features
- Indianapolis releases 11 players to get down to 79 on eve of 1st cut down deadline
- Broncos WR Wes Welker leaves game with concussion after blow to head
- Hometown Hero: Brian Hoyer holds off Johnny Manziel to win starting job with Browns
- Where have they gone? Three-down linebackers vanishing breed as offences stress passing
- Russell Wilson continues Seattle's offensive roll in 34-6 preseason rout of Chicago
- Raiders LB Sio Moore taken off on stretcher with neck injury in preseason game against Packers
- South Carolina trooper who arrested NFL lineman Sam Montgomery during traffic stop is fired
- Broncos release veteran T Winston Justice, 10 others in first round of roster cuts
- Peterson reveals via tweet that he's agreed to a 5-year, $70 million contract with Cardinals
- Peyton and Eli Manning modernize their rap image in latest DirecTV commercial
- Bills to Toronto concerns raised by documents outlining ownership group's plan to move team
- Donald Trump says he'll submit bid to buy Buffalo Bills but thinks he isn't likely to win
- Raiders owner confirms talks with San Antonio after report team exploring move to Texas
- NFL's new sideline tablets receive mostly positive reviews after 1st preseason weekend
- As team looks for new chant leader, Fireman Ed still roots for J-E-T-S far away from spotlight
- Just about every NFL player wants to know what Donny Moore thinks of them
- People familiar with Bills sale: Golisano submits bid; Trump meets with team officials
- Redskins resume court battle over team name, appeal decision stripped trademark protection
Ads by Google