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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Remembering Rodney

Rodney+Thomas+rushed+a+career+total+of+3%2C014+yards+and+was+inducted+into+the+Texas+A%26amp%3BM%0ALetterman%26%238217%3Bs+Association+Hall+of+Fame+List+in+2006.
Rodney Thomas rushed a career total of 3,014 yards and was inducted into the Texas A&M Letterman’s Association Hall of Fame List in 2006.

Forever remembered by his teammates as a gentle spirit, former Texas A&M running back, Rodney Djuane Thomas, 41, died Saturday. Funeral arrangements are set for Friday at the John Wayne Reynolds Athletic Complex of Groveton High School in Groveton, Texas, Thomas’ hometown.
Visitation begins at 9:30 a.m. and will last until the service at 11 a.m. A burial will follow.
Regarded as one of the most successful running backs in Texas A&M football history, Thomas left his high school as a top recruit who contributed in bringing his high school two champtionships.
Thomas went on to help A&M by rushing four consecutive seasons in the Southwest Conference from 1991-94 and a part of three straight Cotton Bowl appearances, under former head coach R.C. Slocum.
“Aggieland lost one of its brightest stars,” Slocum released in a statement.
Greg Hill, teammate and friend of Thomas,’ hosted Thomas on his first trip to A&M as a recruit. Hill said Thomas was the recruit that every university had its eyes on — and he went on to be one of the best players there was, Hill said.
“He was absolutely one of the best at football,” Hill said. “There’s not man or woman alive that would not touch the way he handled his business and the way he humbled himself above anyone.”
Thomas rushed a career total of 3,014 yards. He was inducted into the Texas A&M Letterman’s Assocaiton Hall of Fame List in 2006.
Throughout his Aggie football career, he was a two-time All-SWC running back in ’93-’94 and No. 5 on A&M’s all-time rushing list and No. 3 for touchdowns. In 1994, he received the Aggie Heart award.
“I mean he truly definitely believed that the shortest distance between two points was a straight line,” Hill said. “He was going to knock the hell out of you before you got a chance to knock the hell out of him on the football field. He definitely believed in putting an exclamation point at any run.”
In 1995, Thomas was picked up in the third round of the NFL draft to the Houston Oilers. Chris Sanders, wide receiver who played for both the Aggies and the Oilers, with Thomas, said Thomas was a genuine person even on the field.
“Rodney [would give] the ball to someone else so they could score,” Sanders said. “Rodney scored thousands of touchdowns, and he would let someone else see what it was like to score, so they could have 80,000 people cheer you and applaud you and all that.”
Both on and off the field, Thomas was a humble, honorable man, Hill said.
“He had that ‘it’ factor, that little je ne sais quoi,” Hill said. “He was special. And that was just the guy, the one in the t-shirt and jeans.”
Thomas was a devout man of Christian faith, Sanders said, and brought his along Bible to away games.
Invested in his teammates and friends, Thomas preferred a quieter lifestyle off the field, Sanders said. But one thing he remembers, Sanders said, is Thomas’ sense of humor.
“I remember one Sunday, Rodney missed practice,” Sanders said. “Everybody didn’t know where Rodney [was]. Rodney went to church. I remember the guys asking him ‘Rodney, what are you going to do if you make to the NFL and have to play on Sundays?’ and he said, ‘Oh, me and the Lord will have an understanding by then’ and we just fell out laughing.”
Ray Mickens, Class of 1996 and former cornerback, roomed with Rodney his freshman year in Cain Hall and said they became friends quickly.
Mickens said Thomas was a man of respect and the way he lived his life — he left a lasting impression on those around him.
“He gave me a Bible and it stuck with me because it was one of those things where God was talking to me right then,” Mickens said. “That Rodney was just a special person. That was the first person I met personally at A&M when I moved in.”
Sam Adams, former defensive lineman for the Aggies, said he, Thomas and the rest of the team, were not just a football team, but also a group of brothers that had an incredible bond.
Adams said he was glad to have known Thomas.
“He was Aggie through and through,” Adams said. “You know, they talk about the Aggie Spirit — he was an honorable, trusting, strong, Christian man. He’s the best guy we knew, Rodney Thomas.”

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  • Rodney Thomas rushed a career total of 3,014 yards and was inducted into the Texas A&M Letterman’s Association Hall of Fame List in 2006.

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