Former Redskins running back Mike Thomas, who won the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 1975, passed away Friday after battling a lengthy illness. He was 66 years old.
Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston. A memorial service is set for Friday, Sept. 6 at Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church in Thomas' hometown of Greenville, Texas.
“He was a great guy,” Thomas' brother, Earl, told the Herald Banner. “He was a great football player. I’m going to miss him.”
The Redskins selected Thomas in the fifth round (108th-overall pick) of the 1975 NFL Draft out University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). He immediate became the workhorse in Washington, both in the running game and as a pass-catching threat. Not only did he run for 919 yards and four touchdowns on 235 carries, but he also caught 40 passes for 483 yards and three receiving scores en route to winning Offensive Rookie of the Year.
His dual-threat abilities carried into 1976 and helped the Redskins make the playoffs. On a career-high 254 carries, Thomas rushed for over 1,000 yards (1,101). He also had 28 receptions for 290 yards and four receiving scores.
Though Thomas played just four seasons with the Redskins, he currently ranks ninth on the franchise's all-time rushing list with 3,359 yards. In 1979, Thomas was traded to San Diego and played two seasons with the Chargers.