Bill Thomas (American football)

Bill Thomas
No. 27, 28, 43
Position: Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1949-08-07) August 7, 1949
Place of birth: Ossining, New York
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight: 225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school: Peekskill High School
College: Boston College
NFL Draft: 1972 / Round: 1 / Pick: 26
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career NFL statistics
Rushing attempts-yards: 13-36
Receptions-yards: 1-4
Touchdowns: 0
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

William Jeffrey "Bill" Thomas (born August 7, 1949) is a former professional American football running back in the National Football League. He played three seasons for the Dallas Cowboys (1972), the Houston Oilers (1973), and the Kansas City Chiefs (1974). He was drafted by the Cowboys in the first round of the 1972 NFL Draft out of Boston College.

Early years

Thomas attended Peekskill High School before moving on to Boston College. In April 1970, he dislocated his left shoulder playing basketball, so he had to wear a harness during the football season, until he was forced to have surgery and miss games.[1] In 1971 he helped the school achieve their best record (9-2) in a season since 1954.

His versatility running and blocking was valued by the team, so he spent his playing time between the halfback and fullback positions. He recorded a total of 932 career rushing yards and he never was the leading rusher on his team. In 1971, he had 119 carries for 598 yards and 2 TD.[2]

Professional career

Dallas Cowboys

Coming off their Super Bowl VI win, the Dallas Cowboys entered the 1972 NFL Draft worried about the future of Duane Thomas and the injury history of Calvin Hill, so they focused on their running back depth. With their first round draft choice the team selected Thomas, who was ranked sixth overall on their draft board and with their second draft choice they selected Robert Newhouse.[3]

He never fully recovered from the left shoulder injury he suffered in college and re-injured it during a dummy blocking drill in training camp. He went through surgery to repair the staple pin that was used to secure the shoulder in the original operation and was placed on injured reserve.[4] He was activated for the ninth game of the 1972 season, touching the ball only twice as a rookie during kickoff returns.

In 1973, he was waived before the start of his second season, due to his lack of progress and his injury history.[5]

Houston Oilers

The Houston Oilers claimed him off waivers and played a reserve role during the season.[6] In 1974 he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs, in exchange for a seventh-round draft choice.[7]

Kansas City Chiefs

In 1974 he experienced some success playing special teams, returning 25 kickoffs for 571 yards. He was waived before the 1975 season started.

Personal life

Thomas was a teacher for more than 27 years, while also serving as coach and administrator at Madison Park High School and Gavin Middle School. He also had a stint with the football coaching staff of Northeastern University.


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