Thomas culminated a wonderful career as a member of the New Orleans Saints with the announcement on Thursday that he will be inducted into the franchise's Hall of Fame. Thomas joins wide receiver Lance Moore and Michael C. Hebert in the Class of 2018 inductees into the Saints Hall of Fame http://www.authentic...armstead-jersey , which was founded in 1987. He is just the 5th New Orleans running back to be inducted.Photo by Tom Pidgeon/Getty ImagesPierre Thomas came into the NFL as an undrafted free agent rookie out of the University of Illinois in 2007. Despite leaving the Fighting Illini with the 2nd highest all-time mark in all purpose yardage, Thomas wasn't even invited to the NFL scouting combine. He made such an impression on 2nd year Saints coach Sean Payton however, that Thomas was kept on the roster over the team's 4th round draft pick that year, Antonio Pittman. He had limited offensive action during his first season with the team, finishing with 403 total yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. He was the team leader in kickoff return yardage, and averaged nearly 25 yards per return. Thomas would establish himself as an important weapon in Payton's explosive offense during the 2008 season. He led the Saints in rushing during the '08 and '09 seasons, while scoring a combined 20 touchdowns. Thomas was one of the most effective all-purpose running backs in the league during his 8-yr. career in New Orleans. He was nearly unstoppable on screen passes, and it became a staple in the Saints offensive arsenal. Thomas led all NFL running backs in receiving during the 2013 season, when he caught a career high 77 passes for 513 yards, and still led the Saints in rushing with 549 yards. Thomas' 2,608 career receiving yards and 327 total receptions are both the best in franchise history for a running back, and he ranks 6th among all receivers in catches. His 3,745 rushing yards is 5th best in franchise history, and his 28 rushing touchdowns is the fourth highest mark. Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty ImagesPierre Thomas was beloved by the Saints faithful for so much more than statistics. He wasn't the biggest back (listed at 5'11, 210-lbs.), and didn't possess breathtaking speed. Thomas was the type of player who was willing to do whatever he needed to on the field to help his team win. He was a trusted target of quarterback Drew Brees in clutch situations, and was a skilled special team player as well, often able to give the team a boost as a kick returner when needed. What set Thomas apart was his leadership, and his ability to make the clutch play in big games. He scored the first New Orleans touchdown in the Saints Super Bowl XLIV over Indianapolis, taking a screen pass and bolting 16-yds. for the go-ahead score early in the 3rd quarter of the Saints historic 31-17 victory. What sometimes gets forgotten is that Thomas was vital in just getting his team to the game's biggest stage. Duringthe Saints NFC Championship victory over the Minnesota Vikings, Thomas was the Saints leading rusher and second leading receiver on the afternoon, and scored 2 of the 3 New Orleans touchdowns. When regular returner Courtney Roby was injured late in the contest, Thomas stepped in and returned the opening kickoff of overtime 40 yards to give New Orleans key field position. Later in that same drive, Thomas was given the call on a 4th and 1 gamble by Payton. He fought furiously on a 2-yd. first down conversion that would put the Saints in position for the game winning field goal from Garrett Hartley and send New Orleans to the Super Bowl. That game was a microcosm of a Hall of Fame career, and an honor so very well deserved. Congratulations Pierre Thomas!Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images The Los Angeles Chargers placed seven players in the Pro Bowl, including safety Derwin James Color Rush DeMario Davis Jersey , one of six rookies across the league to make the game.James, a first-round draft choice, will be joined on the AFC squad by veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, wide receiver Keenan Allen, running back Melvin Gordon, defensive end Melvin Ingram, center Mike Pouncey and special-teamer Adrian Phillips for the game, which will be played Jan. 27 in Orlando. James and Phillips are the only starters, though.Rivers is a backup to Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes, one of 29 first-time Pro Bowlers. That, of course, includes all the rookies: James, Giants running back Saquon Barkley, Seahawks punter Michael Dickson, Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay, Indianapolis guard Quenton Nelson and Cleveland cornerback Denzel Wads. Lindsay is an undrafted player.New England's Tom Brady is the other AFC quarterback, making it for the 14th time. Noticeably missing is the Colts' Andrew Luck.New Orleans, led by quarterback Drew Brees, Dallas and Chicago paced the NFC with five players each. Brees is the starter, backed up by Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and the Rams' Jared Goff.Buffalo, Oakland and Tampa Bay had no Pro Bowl selections.Pittsburgh and Kansas City each had six players chosen, including such first-timers as Steelers running back James Conner and Mahomes, both having breakthrough years.Cleveland has a first overall draft choice in the game 鈥?not Baker Mayfield, but 2017 top pick Myles Garrett at defensive end."Football is a team game and you can't do it on your own," said Garrett, who leads the Browns with 12陆 sacks. "I'm happy to be able to share this experience with Denzel because this honor is really a testament to our entire defense."Among the perennial AFC choices returning to the game are Houston DE J.J. Watt Youth Marshon Lattimore Jersey , Pittsburgh WR Antonio Brown, Baltimore guard Marshal Yanda and safety Eric Weddle, Cincinnati DT Geno Atkins and Denver LB Von Miller."To get recognized by your peers, the coaches and the fans, it means a lot," Weddle said. "It's always special to put in the hard work and to try your best and then get recognized. The Pro Bowl is something I never take for granted, and I'm pretty stoked about it. Each year you just work hard and try to play your very best. To receive recognition for what you do on the field, even if it may not show up in other areas, is awesome."For the NFC, frequent repeaters include Atlanta WR Julio Jones and C Alex Mack, Dallas tackle Tyron Smith, inside LBs Luke Kuechly of Carolina and Bobby Wagner of Seattle, Arizona CB Patrick Peterson, Rams DT Aaron Donald and Bears LB Khalil Mack.One of the newcomers, Chicago DT Akiem Hicks, sounded overwhelmed by the honor."I have played the game of football my entire life and this is the greatest accolade I've ever achieved," he said.There will be a brother combination at center for the AFC as Maurkice Pouncey of Pittsburgh is the starter ahead of Mike Pouncey.The Jets, despite a 4-10 record, have three Pro Bowlers in safety Jamal Adams, kicker Jason Myers and return specialist Andre Roberts 鈥?all first-timers.Pro Bowl coaching staffs will be from the losing teams in the AFC and NFC divisional playoffs with the best regular-season records. Each player on the winning Pro Bowl team receives $67,000, while each player on the losing squad earns $34,000.
Pierre Thomas Cruises Into New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame Running back Pierre
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