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A trio of Buffalo Bills legends in London for Week 5

Thurman Thomas, Fred Jackson, and Lorenzo Alexander will fire up the crowd at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Thurman Thomas #34

The Buffalo Bills are in the home stretch of preparations, ready to face off against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London this Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Though crossing the pond, the Bills will still play hosts to the Jaguars as the designated home team in Week 5. As such, Buffalo will bring along with its arsenal the sights and sounds Bills Mafia has come to expect at a home game in Highmark Stadium. That’s right, we’re talking train horns, video graphics, and more that position the locale as an unfriendly field for Jacksonville.

But to make that even more the case, the Bills have announced a fantastic trio of former players as their legends of the game. Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas heads the class, followed by ‘aughts all-timers in running back Fred Jackson and linebacker Lorenzo Alexander.

Considering that a fair amount of Buffalo Rumblings readers might have youth on their side and thus are unfamiliar with this week’s Legends of the Game, below you’ll be able to find a bit more about each of their careers without leaving the blog.

Thurman Thomas (L) of the Buffalo Bills makes some Photo credit should read CARLO ALLEGRI/AFP via Getty Images

Waxing poetic about what Thurman Thomas meant and still does to the Bills would occupy thousands of words for this author — “Thurmanator” is my all-time favorite Bill and football player. Thomas was as important as anyone on the roster to the successes found by the Super Bowl era teams. His arrival in 1988 helped to fully usher in a massive sea change for the Buffalo Bills. With Thomas, the Bills became a perennial Super Bowl team, and one of the most-feared offenses in the league. When he ran for 100 yards, it was almost a guarantee the Bills would exit winners of any game. A dependable, multi-threat player like few others before him or since, Thomas could make holes out of nothing and usually found ways to avoid big hits.

And he was fast, while playing his entire career on a partially torn ACL.

He led the league in all-purpose yards four seasons in a row from 1989 through 1992 (breaking a mark held by Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown), and his play in Super Bowl XXV was legendary — truly the one facet to Buffalo’s offense that then-defensive coordinator Bill Belichick had no answer.

In 12 seasons with the Bills, Thomas carried the football in the regular season 2,849 times for 11,938 yards with 65 touchdowns on the ground. As a receiver, Thomas caught 456 passes for 4,341 yards with 22 touchdowns during 173 regular-season games.

Thomas’ playoff stats are equally impressive. In 21 playoff games, he carried 339 times for 1,442 yards with 16 touchdowns. He added 76 receptions for 672 yards and five touchdowns.

Bills vs. Giants Super Bowl XXV Thurman Thomas highlights

Bills vs. Chiefs 1994 AFC Championship highlights

Thurman Thomas holds the franchise record for most the most rushing yards and most 100-yard rushing games, having eclipsed that mark in 46 regular-season games. Thomas was a much-celebrated player in the NFL. The four-time first-team All-Pro, three-time second-team All-Pro, and five-time Pro Bowl player’s accolades listed at the NFL Hall of Fame website reads like a heart surgeon’s CV — as in 709 words of copy. Seriously, go read through his career highlights if you’re not familiar.

(stats provided by Pro Football Reference)

Jacksonville Jaguars v Buffalo Bills Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Fred Jackson, RB (2007-2014)

Fred Jackson is one of the most beloved Buffalo Bills of all time, regardless of era or statistical contribution. Hailing from Coe College, Jackson cut his teeth in NFL Europe before finding a home with the Bills thanks to then-general manager Marv Levy.

Bills Mafia finds a special kinship with Jackson — his coming from a small Division III school and making a true name for himself as a professional football player against all odds. Head coach Bill Belichick was often observed praising Jackson in meaningful ways, clearly a player he wanted as part of his teams.

In eight seasons with the Bills, Jackson carried the football 1,279 times for 5,646 yards with 30 rushing touchdowns. As a receiver, Jackson made 322 catches for 2,640 yards with seven touchdowns.

Jackson was something of a proficient wildcat passer as well, officially completing one-of-two passes for 27 yards and one touchdown.

But Jackson was always far more than any stat or or accolade could explain. He carried with him a menacing stiff arm that knew no weakness, and his legs seemed as though forged out of granite. In a full sprint, Jackson was light on his feet, with sprinter’s form up on the balls and toes, and fully in possession of elite balance.

Jackson never played in a playoff game with the Bills, a team during his tenure that was stuck in the mud of a 17-year playoff drought. Jackson brought his helmet and lunch pail to every game, and his instincts made him elite. Jackson’s career overlapped with that of running back Marshawn Lynch, but he was never overshadowed by one of the NFL’s biggest personalities. Fred Jackson is an all-timer who put Bills Mafia on his back.

(stats provided by Pro Football Reference)

Jacksonville Jaguars v Buffalo Bills Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Lorenzo Alexander, LB (2016-2019)

“Lorax” as fans lovingly refer to Alexander came to Buffalo near the end of his NFL career. As a member of the Bills, he saved perhaps his best for last by earning second-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors during his first season in Orchard Park, NY. In four seasons with Buffalo across two regimes, Alexander played in every game, making 279 tackles (205 solo), 32 tackles for loss, 56 quarterback hits, 25 defended passes, 24 sacks, three interceptions, and one fumble recovery.

Alexander built a lengthy career, beginning in Washington as a defensive tackle. Throughout his time in the NFL, Alexander would lose or gain weight as needed, playing nearly every position among the front seven on defense. Alexander was a true x-factor for defensive coordinators later in his career, leveraging the experience he gained on the defensive line to enhance his production as linebacker and occasional edge rusher.

Alexander remains one of the most beloved players with fans. Similarly to Fred Jackson, while the stats speak for themselves, what Alexander meant to the team and Bills Mafia far outweigh any number on record.

Lorenzo Alexander Buffalo Bills highlights

(stats provided by Pro Football Reference)

Prior to the Bills’ Week 5 game tomorrow, the trio of Thurmanator, Freddie, and Lorax are certain to pump up an already very vocal and well-represented Bills Mafia crowd.

Indianapolis Colts v Buffalo Bills Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images