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#34 to forever belong to Thurman Thomas

Buffalo Bills

Jersey #34 will forever be the number of Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas.

The Bills have announced they will retire the number during halftime at the team's home Monday Night Football game against the New England Patriots in Week 8 of the upcoming season.

In 1991 Thomas was named the NFL MVP and in 2007 was inducted in to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“I couldn’t of done this without the fans,” said Thomas. “You talk about a guy walking out of this tunnel right here back in 1988, you felt the energy from the fans. They’re part of the reason why I played and loved this game so much. Because the energy that they gave myself, Steve (Tasker), Jim (Kelly), and everybody else was amazing."

Thomas joins Jim Kelly, whose number 12 was retired in 2001, and Bruce Smith, whose number 78 was retired in 2016, as Bills players who have been given the same honor.

Thomas addressed the teams current owners, the Pegula’s, saying he’s honored to be grouped with  Kelly and Smith.

“I knew I wasn’t a guy since you owned the team,” Thomas said, “but to be a part of history and be a part of being retired with Jim (Kelly) and being retired with Bruce (Smith)… thank you so much from the bottom of my heart and my family.”

A total of nine players have donned 34, including Cookie Gilchrist, but no one else since Thurman Thomas.

“This is not just (one) 34’s jersey being retired. It’s Jim Braxton, Cookie Gilchrist, and myself.  This is special. To be in an elite class like this means a lot to the family,” Thomas said.

Thomas is currently the Bills all-time leading rusher and was a key piece to them reaching four straight Super Bowls in the early 90’s. He is one of only five NFL running backs to put together eight-consecutive 1,000 yard seasons.

Nick Lippa leads our Arts & Culture Coverage, and is also the lead reporter for the station's Mental Health Initiative, profiling the struggles and triumphs of those who battle mental health issues and the related stigma that can come from it.
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