Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sure He's Surly, but He's Great

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sure He's Surly, but He's Great

Article excerpt

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Some things don't change. Sometimes

that's good. Sometimes it's not. I'm not sure which fits Thurman

Thomas, but I do know I have a few issues with the Buffalo

newspaper guy who told me Thurman would be happy to chat.

Thomas, veteran running back for the Buffalo Bills, approached

his locker at Rich Stadium this week. Me, obscure reporter from

Florida paper, approached him.

Me (holding pad, pen): "Thurman. Got a minute?"

Thurman (eyeing pad, pen): "That's about all I got. What do you

want?"

Me: "To talk about your role."

Thurman (reaching into locker for belongings): "I ain't got

time then."

Me: "Huh?"

Thurman (exiting quickly): "I'm through talking about my role."

Now, know this about Thomas:

No one around the Bills thinks he is unhappy. He went to Bills

management and coaches a year ago and said he thought it was

time for him to move into a reserve role, time for then-rookie

Antowain Smith to be the feature back.

I thought it would be inspirational to write about how he

adjusted, figured people want to read his story -- how he

adjusted to being an older leader on a team that is now closer

to a No. 1 draft selection than the Super Bowl. There are backs

in the NFL who wouldn't accept such a role. There are backs who

would insist they still have the legs of a 25-year-old when they

are Thomas' age, 32.

Those are the good stories, stories athletes typically enjoy

discussing because it casts them in a good light.

Then again, getting in a good light never has been Thomas'

strength. Of all the Bills who became stars during their Super

Bowl run in the early 1990s, it was Thomas who came across as

the surliest, and most scarred by their failure to win the game

in four tries. …

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