The Eagle in Bryan-College Station reports that legendary Texas Aggie running back Rodney Thomas died on Saturday evening. Thomas was just 41 years old and passed away in his hometown Groveton, Texas.
Sad to hear about the passing of former #Aggie RB Rodney Thomas this evening. Thomas was 41. Played 7 years in the NFL w/Hou/Tenn/Atl.— Kevin Taylor (@Kevin_TimesRec) June 15, 2014
Follow on Rodney Thomas death: Trinity County justice of the peace confirmed former A&M RB died Saturday night.— Larry Bowen (@larry_bowen) June 15, 2014
So sad to learn of the passing of Aggie great Rodney Thomas. Awesome young man.— R C Slocum (@rcslocum) June 15, 2014
Rodney Thomas rushed for over 3,000 yards as part of a three-pronged rushing attack at Texas A&M with Greg Hill and Leeland McElroy. His honors at Texas A&M include being named a consensus All-SWC Running Back ('93 and '94), playing for three SWC Championship Teams ('91, '92, and '93), and earning the Aggie Heart Award (1994). Thomas was drafted by the Houston Oilers in 1995 and subsequently played for the Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons before retiring after the 2001 season.
Despite his success on the field, most Aggies remember Rodney Thomas for his outstanding character. Here is an excerpt from the September 19, 1994 issue of Sports Illustrated about a famous incident demonstrating Thomas's integrity:
Thomas is happy to share the spotlight. In fact he has been known to ask the coaches to give McElroy more carries. But then Thomas's ethics—which he refuses to discuss—are legendary. Two years ago a vending machine in the athletic dorm went berserk, spewing out free candy bars. Thomas, unlike many of his teammates, did not partake of the windfall, but waited for the horde to disperse and then inserted all his spare change into the machine.
Rodney Thomas embodied the Aggie Spirit on and off the field. Our hearts go out to his family.