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Former RB Rodney Thomas dies at 41

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Rodney Thomas played seven seasons in the NFL. (Getty Images)
Thomas played seven seasons in the NFL. (Getty Images)

Running back Rodney Thomas, who spent seven seasons in the NFL playing for two different organizations, died at the age of 41 on Saturday night, according to the Bryan-College Station (Texas) Eagle.

The cause of death has not been revealed, but Rod Blair, the Trinity County justice of the peace, told the paper that an autopsy will be performed.

Thomas was a star at Texas A&M, where he played from 1991-94. In his career, he rushed for 3,014 yards and 41 touchdowns -- which ranks No. 5 and No. 3 on the Aggies all-time career list.

Thomas was drafted by the Houston Oilers in the third round of the 1995 draft, and his rookie season was his best as he rushed for 947 yards and five touchdowns to go with 39 catches for 204 yards and another two scores. He played all 16 games in four of the next five seasons as the Houston Oilers transitioned to the Tennessee Oilers and then the Tennessee Titans, but he was stuck at running back behind Eddie George.

He spent his final season in the NFL with the Falcons in 2001 where he was behind Jamal Anderson and Maurice Smith on the depth chart.

"I was shocked and saddened by the news of the passing of Rodney Thomas,” former A&M coach R.C. Slocum said in a statement. “He was a great football player, but more importantly, he was one of the finest young men that I have ever met. He was so kind, considerate and unselfish. He impacted all that met him in a positive way. Our prayers go out to his family and friends. Aggieland lost one of its brightest stars today.”

Thomas' quarterback on those Tennessee teams was Steve McNair, who was killed in his sleep in 2009.

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