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February 27, 2001: Thurman Thomas Retires With Bills

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

Eleven years ago, Thurman Thomas was unceremoniously dumped by the Buffalo Bills. (The running back claims he found out the news on the scroll at the bottom of ESPN2.) On this date ten years ago, Thomas signed a one-day contract so he could retire as a member of the organization that drafted him.

Thomas was drafted by Bill Polian and the Bills in the second round of the 1988 NFL Draft after a knee injury hurt his draft stock. Thomas became the key element of the fast-paced offense the Bills were trying to run. Thomas could run, catch, and do everything QB Jim Kelly and offensive coordinator Ted Marchibroda wanted.

Thomas was the league MVP in 1991 and is the only player in NFL history to lead the league in total yards from scrimmage for four consecutive seasons. At the time of his retirement Thomas trailed only Walter Payton in total yards from scrimmage and sat ninth on the NFL's all-time rushing list with 12,074 yards.

While the list of his career accomplishments are long he became a salary cap casualty of the Buffalo Bills in early 2000. After playing in only 5 games in 1999 the only team he had ever played for released him and he signed a contract to play with a team even he despised, the Miami Dolphins. After one season playing in only nine games and rushing for 136 yards Thomas called it a career but didn't want to retire in Miami.

Thomas instead signed a one day contract and held his retirement press conference in Buffalo. It was a classy move by the Bills and Thomas.

A few short years later Thomas was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007. You can follow the Hall of Famer's view of the world on Twitter if you'd like. He's still active in the Buffalo community.