Mike Thomas
No. 22
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born:(1953-07-17)July 17, 1953
Greenville, Texas, U.S.
Died:August 23, 2019(2019-08-23) (aged 66)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:190 lb (86 kg)
Career information
High school:Greenville
NFL Draft:1975 / Round: 5 / Pick: 108
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:4,196
Rushing average:3.9
Rushing touchdowns:19
Receiving yards:2,011
Receiving touchdowns:11
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Malcolm "Mike" Thomas (July 17, 1953 – August 23, 2019) was an American football running back in the National Football League (NFL) for six seasons with the Washington Redskins and San Diego Chargers. He was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1975.

Early years

Born in Greenville, Texas, Thomas graduated from Greenville High School in 1971 and played college football at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Nevada Las Vegas.[1] At the time, UNLV was a Division II program; it moved up to Division I-A in 1978. In his senior season in 1974, the Rebels were undefeated in the regular season and advanced to the Division II semifinal (Grantland Rice Bowl).

Playing career

Thomas was selected in the fifth round of the 1975 NFL draft by the Washington Redskins. In his rookie season, he rushed for 919 yards and was named the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year. The following season in 1976, Washington returned to the playoffs as the wild card team; Thomas ran for over 1,100 yards and went to the Pro Bowl.

In his fourth season in 1978 under first-year head coach Jack Pardee, the Redskins won their first six games. Thomas injured his ankle in that sixth game and sat out the next three games. Washington lost eight of the last ten games to finish at 8–8 (.500) and missed the playoffs.

Thomas was traded to the San Diego Chargers in May 1979.[1][2] After playing two seasons, he was waived by the Chargers in September 1981.[3]

Personal life

His older brothers Jimmy and Earl Thomas also played in the NFL.

Thomas died at age 66 on August 23, 2019, at a hospital in Houston after a lengthy illness.[4][5]


  1. ^ a b "Thomas could see bad handwriting". Tuscaloosa News. (Alabama). Associated Press. August 30, 1979. p. 26.
  2. ^ "Thomas dealt to Chargers". Free Lance-Star. (Fredericksburg, Virginia). Associated Press. May 19, 1979. p. 6.
  3. ^ "Chargers cut Fuller and Thomas". Lodi News-Sentinel. (California). UPI. September 2, 1981. p. 23.
  4. ^ Claybourn, David (August 27, 2019). "Local football legend Mike Thomas dead at 66". Herald-Banner. (Greenville, Texas). Retrieved August 16, 2022.
  5. ^ "UNLV football legend Mike Thomas passes away". UNLV Athletics. August 27, 2019. Retrieved August 16, 2022.