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Zach Thomas to retire as a Miami Dolphin

As I posted on my twitter feed earlier this morning, Zach Thomas is expected to sign a one-day contract with the Dolphins today and then retire as an all-timer.

Readers know I've advocated on this blog for that to happen. The Dolphins are showing excellent judgment, good public relations, and frankly, that they have blood in their veins and that their heart isn't as cold as some might think.

Great job by Miami!

Thomas, 36, played for the Dolphins from 1996 through 2007. He was elected to seven Pro Bowl games. He recorded 1,075 career tackles. His final year in Miami was a frustrating one hampered by concussions and auto accidents with Patriots fans. He spent his final two seasons in Dallas and Kansas City.

His rookie year, Thomas was so good so fast that coach Jimmy Johnson told veteran Jack Del Rio -- now the Jaguars head coach -- he had no future in Miami and that he was getting cut because a young, unknown, short linebacker was simply better.

This is a good day to be a Dolphins fan.

In the comments section please leave your favorite Zach Thomas memory. I might actually use it in a column.

Also, do you think the Dolphins should retire Thomas' number? Do you think Thomas belong in the ring of fame or honor or whatever the Dolphins call it? And do you think Thomas is a Hall of Fame prospect?

[BLOG NOTE: Interesting that only minutes after I blogged about Karlos Dansby not being the focus of any attention and finally getting some notice, the Dolphins announced today's press conference with Zach. So if you haven't seen the Dansby blog post feel free to click for it.] 


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The right thing to do!!! Congratulations Zach Thomas

Hope he is honored during the JETS game.

JT... suck on those...

Yes on retiring #
No on HOF

Congrats to the Dolphins for finally starting to get a clue about public relations and what the fans care about. I hope its a sign of things to come. Zach is a Hall of Famer and I hope he becomes an assistant coach working with the LB's because I honestly think he would be very good at it just like Mike Singeltary has been with the 49rs....We have one LB coaching position open, would love for that to be a part of the announcement.

My favorite Zach moment: Laying out Coles against the Jets on a rainy Christmas night.

Never have I see a collision so violent on a WR from a linebacker.

Even though we lost that game, that hit was worth every penny.

Waterboy, you can't retire a # if he isn't a HOF'r...at least you shouldn't. I vote yes on all, but the # a few years after HOF.

Easily the most memorable Zach play was his INT of Neil O'Donnell against the Titans on Sunday night football. Not so much the INT itself, but his diving frontflip into the endzone, awesome.

As for the HOF, I got into a very heated debate a few weeks back. Hall of very good, yes, Hall of Fame, no. He is not elite, and that is what the HOF is about. I posted London Fletcher's career numbers, basically the same as Zach. Had Zach not played in the same conference with Ray Lewis for all those years, maybe he is a HOFer, we will never know.

Nonetheless, Zach has a cemented spot in my top 10 favorite Dolphins, and am glad to see him get to retire a Dolphin.

I was at a game in Oakland 'bout 10 years ago. (no it must have been more because Marino was still playing. I think) any way the Raiders had the ball on their own 2 yard line. Their QB goes back to throw, Zach tips the ball in the air right at the goal line. Steps over the line and catches the ball. Touchdown. Nice play (and career) Zach

I'm THRILLED to hear this! Great job by the front office and Mr. Ross! Zach deserves this!

There are only so many numbers that can be retired
unless the number 1 is added in front of two digits.
But Zach earned his #54 to be retired. I'm not sure about the Hall of Fame. A lot of good players aren't in the Hall. If he had been in some Super Bowls, he would probably be a lock to get in.

Agree, Zach w/ a 0 yard int return, that's how it read in the stats.


Zachary Thomas has more tackles then anyone in the hall of fame. Enough said, he is a hall of famer but it will take a while. I say 15 years. Not looking forward to that day because I will be pushing sixty.

And to answer your question 'Mando-

Zach, IMHO, is not a HOF'er. BUT he absolutely deserves to be up in the Ring of Honor for sure.

Excellent News!---and some Very Timely Good PR to boot!!

Maybe this will shut up the Big O and Sid and all the other Fin haters on the radio who have been droning on all morning about how they were unfailry denied news about Marshall.

Congrats Zach. Number retired as a Dolphin, YES! Dolphins ring of fame (or whatever they call it as Mando says), YES! NFL Hall of Famer, YES.

NFL Honors: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zach_Thomas#Awards_and_honors

Btw, there is not a current Hall of Famer linebacker that has more tackles than what Zach Thomas has.

Around 1997 when I was in high school, I was trying to win a college scholarship to Vanderbilt in sportswriting. I wrote a letter to Zach Thomas and his family in Pampa, Texas and asked for information so that I could do an article about him in my local paper.

I received a huge mailing envelope with a personal reply letter and ORIGINAL newspaper clippings about Zach's high school, college and rookie NFL seasons. This allowed me to do a great article for my small town Tennessee newspaper sports page.

This just reflects what a class individual Thomas is and what a great family he comes from (please hold Ginn family jokes). He will always be amongst my all-time favorite Fins and I am eternally grateful for his attention to my request.

Favorite Zach moment: his flip into the End Zone against the Titans.

My personal Zach story: At the end of the '96 season (his rookie year), I was a small-time sports reporter for an Upstate NY newspaper. I requested a press pass to the season's last game, against the Jets, in the Meadowlands, and received one. I had to cover the Jets for the paper, but I really wanted to go to see the Dolphins of course, and after the game, I went down to the locker room, and after hero worshiping Marino (professionally, of course), I walked over towards Zach, who was in the back of the locker room w/ about 10 reporters around him, asking questions. I got into the act, and soon after, it was just he and I. He was wearing jeans and a flannel shirt, which was quite the contrast to Danny Boy's clean suit! He had also become my favorite player at that point. Soon after, I was walking with him out of the locker room, and out towards the team bus. As we made it outside, before he got on the bus, I asked him to sign my business card on the back, and he did! Yes, this was unprofessional, being a reporter back then, but oh well - guess that's why I'm no longer a reporter! Anyhow, I still have the card framed on my desk and I'm looking at it right now. Thanks for the memories Zach!!

And - yes - 54 should be retired TODAY!!!

Is this not hall of Fame worthy?

5× First-Team All-Pro selection (1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2006)

2× Second-Team All-Pro selection (2001, 2005)

7× Pro Bowl selection (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006)

NFL 2000s All-Decade Team

He was the best middle linebacker the Fins ever had...they should retire the number and put him in the Ring of Honor...

Casey, agree with you. The diving frontflip into the endzone was awesome. I am glad for him and the organization. Do the right thing! I am happy they did.

End around by Tim Brown with the New England Patriots. Collides with Zach Thomas and doesn't get up for approx. 20 mins. It was the ultimate introduction to the great force of Zach Thomas. I was honored to watch him from his first to his last play with the Miami Dolphins.

It must have been his first or second game against the Cardinals. I was feeling pretty pessimistic about the team considering we were starting a 5 th round rookie pick. Then I watched him play, after that he was my favorite phin!
Thomas should have his number retired. He also should be a strong candidate for the HOF. One more thing, I love Jason Taylor and will always consider him a great phin, but Thomas would never join the Jets, Pats or Bills. That makes him a true phin!!!

Zack thomas was a good player its nice to see his loyalty to want to retire as a Miami dolphin and all but I do have an issue with retiring his number#54 zachs career in miami doesn't warrant that move.look at how many probowls richmond webb and the marks brothers went to yet they don't get that respect to retire there numbers why????? Maybe they aren't white enough??? I don't know but I don't like thadecision by the front office and its not like the trifecta to do such a thing . Very fishy situation there could be stephen ross move.

Just standing the test of time and watching other teams gameplan by taking it directly to this undersized middle LB who would continuously prove to them that would be a huge mistake!

Good luck Zach!

When he laid out Stanley Jefferson his rookie year on the patriots and gave him the WR a Concussion. To me that was when he was on the scene and players began to think... I better find out who #54 is in the middle.

Your blog note isn't interesting, it's self-serving nonsense.

Cssey, yes, you can still youtube "zach cracks coles" and it's there...Speed and instincts...Brutal HIT!

My favorite Zach moment was his first game against the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo. He had an interception that helped win the game.

Congrats to Zach!!!

Yes on retiring number!
Yes on Ring of Honor!
And Yes on Hall of Fame! Although it may not be a first ballot...

Two memories that pop up right off the bat are: His rookie year, maybe even the first game of the season against the Patriots, when he knocked out Shawn Jeffereson! And the game against Pittsburgh, when he stood up Bettis one on one and brought him down. These two plays still give me the goose bumps everytime I recall them.

Way to go Zach, way to be the Ultimate Professional!!!!

ZACK is my pick for alltime DOLPHINS MLB ....... However, if you want to select two ILB (assuming a 3-4 defense) then Nick Bounecanti is 2nd choice.

Best OLB: Porter, Brudzinski, B.Cox (in that order) .... note: I have JT as best DE below

Best NT: Tim Bowens, J.Fergeson, B.Bumhauer

Best DE: Jason Taylor, Doug Betters, Stanfil (in that order)

Best CB: Surtain, Madison (Vontae Davis and S.Smith are headed to the elite status)

Best S: Jake Scott, Dick Anderson, Y.Bell

Favorite Zach Thomas moment: During his rookie year, the 'Fins had a Sunday night game on TNT, and their broadcasting crew did a sideline interview with him. The TNT interviewer said, "Zach, the fans are calling you a bulldog because of your size and tenacity." Zach drawled in reply, "Bulldog? It fits. I hain't got no neck." I laughed out loud, and immediately took a liking to the hard-playing, self-deprecating young man.

Fifteen years and two English bulloogs in the house later, my wife and I still chuckle at that line.

someone mentioned zach thomas hitting coles (Casey?)...

here is the hit:


Zach's name MUST be in the ring of fame at JRS! Retire his number??? Possibly but most likely not. I don't think he'll ever get the hall votes.

Good luck Zach!

stoning Jerome Bettis behind the line of scrimmage on (I think) 3rd down.

there is the zach thomas interception returned for a touchdown with the celebratory flip in the endzone:


My favorite Zach moment was his pick 6 (against the Jets on MNF if I am not mistaken) where he did the front flip in the end zone and landed on his head. Would've broken a lesser man's neck, but if ZT was anything he was tough. Why would we not retire #54? As someone born in the 80s, ZT is the second best Dolphin in my life time, and just like Marino, it is hard to believe we'll ever have a player like Zach again.

Favorite moment...can't remember who it was agianst, think the Jets. Zach intercepted, ran it back for 6 and did a flip in the end zone! how cool was that!!

Great News! Well deserved! Zach is a Dolphin for life! Kudos to the Miami organisation and the trifecta!

How about the first game of his career when he knocked shaun jefferson unconcious with a huge hit. Kicked the pats ass that day and got the cover of SI.

What play was better than Zach standing up Jerome Bettis? No fear in that man!

I`m glad that finally the Dolphins are doing the right thing with Zack. He gave his body, his heart and soul for the Dolphins. Regarding his chances to be a Hall of Fame, well his numbers are pretty good but sometimes the voters think otherwise. But one thing is clear, Zack is the BEST short LB EVER to play the game. EVER

great news!

Congrats to Zach! Miami loves ya! Thanks to the fins for making it possible!
Hall Of Fame=YES!
Ring of Honor=YES!
Retire Jersey=Yes!

Favorite Memories:
Every sack,tackle, and interception he had or help create against the Jets!

He's the type of player that Dolfans will tell their kids about. I know I will..

Zack thomas was a good player its nice to see his loyalty to want to retire as a Miami dolphin and all but I do have an issue with retiring his number#54 zachs career in miami doesn't warrant that move.look at how many probowls richmond webb and the marks brothers went to yet they don't get that respect to retire there numbers why????? Maybe they aren't white enough??? I don't know but I don't like thadecision by the front office and its not like the trifecta to do such a thing . Very fishy situation there could be stephen ross move.

Posted by: tarence | May 20, 2010 at 11:23 AM

Dude, you are really reaching with the "maybe theyre not white enough" thing. People like you are the biggest bigots and you don'teven realize it. Bringing race into a situation where it has nothing to do with anything is RACISM.

Kudos to the Dolphins for taking a hint from the Dez Bryant and JT situations and becomming more PR-savvy.

More importantly, this is an honor for Zach that is truly deserved. This allows him to take his rightful place among the pantheon of Dolphin greats. I don't begrudge the Dolphins for releasing him in 2008, and I'm probably one of the few that didn't have a problem with them not allowing him a farewell press conference. At the time, he still wanted to play, and there was every possibility that he would say good-bye to SoFla fans, then sign with a competing team. That would have been extremely uncomfortable. The Dolphins made a (proper) business decision. And while Zach may still be smarting over what happened with JT, he knows deep inside that it, too, was a business decision.

But this ceremonial honor--and the subsequent enshrinment into the Ring of Honor which is sure to follow at some point--should make up for 2008. Zach has earned this praise, and he should enjoy it to the fullest.

This is great news! Finally some consideration! Zach should be and def will be in the Ring of Honor and I feel should have his number retired. I pray he gets into the Hall of Fame too, and while I believe he deserves to be there, it's tough going sometimes when it comes to the HOF. One of my all time fav Zach memories of him playing was one of his first when he knocked Shawn Jefferson out cold in his first career start! What a great guy and a great professional! We love and miss you Zach!

Zach should be a part of the Ring of Excellence. Not sure about retiring his number and I don't believe he's a Hall of Famer. Zach was a GREAT GREAT player.....heart and soul guy!! Blood and guts.....the core of our defence. I'm not such a big fan of retiring numbers and I don't think he quite qualifies for 'elite' status for the Hall of Fame. Just my opinion.....

Definitely when he laid out Coles, I remember yelling I hope he dies after it happened (not seriously) I just hate the Jets so much and loved watching one suffer at the hands of #54

Don't forget those Zach moments when just one of his hits would fire up the defense enough to stop the series. The blood drool on his elbow every game, the chew marks on the front of his helmet, he is more of just a favorite play, he carried us through all those goofy head coaches, always trying to win despite them.

Great, Great news, I personally think that Zach was a highlight reel in almost every play that he was in and that was alot, He was the perfect example of hard work, dedication and teamwork. He was a tremendous example off the field as well, never getting into any problems and being in Miami is a tough task. Congrats Zach you are definetely an All Timer and I am grateful that I got to see you play all of your years while you wore the Dolphins uniform. God Bless you man!!!

Dishpan, or as Mando once said, Douchepan: Get a hug dude. You're comment is totally uncalled for on this blog that is a testimony to Zach Thomas.

Great job, Mando!

One of my favorite memories of Zach Thomas wasn't even that special of a play. I remember a playoff game between the Dolphins and the Patriots. The Pats were winning and they had the ball with under 2 mins and were just killing the clock by taking a knee. Zach was the only one trying to get in and cause a fumble and get the ball back. I've never seen anyone even attempt to do that in that stage of the game and I thought that spoke volumes about Zach's effort and dedication. It was a sad day when I heard the news that he was being cut. He's been nothing short of being a complete professional on and off the field and its nice to all the hard work, dedication, and effort being rewarded.

I remember a game where Bettis was ready to break through a huge hole with a full head of steam. Would have been a nice long run if a white #54 jersey had not met him in the hole and sent him backwards. What a collision.
Thanks for the memories Zach.

In an organization that could only be called unorganized for the entirety of his career, the one constant we could rely on every single Sunday was Zach Thomas. You knew he wasn't going to be outsmarted, outworked. You knew he was giving everything he had for you to win. It was a pleasure to watch Zach all those years, the epitome of class.

Waiting for the blog update with JT's and/or Agent reaction to this story.....

My favorite moment was when he leveled Jerome Bettis at the line of scrimmage. I'll remember that play for the rest of my life. He was a true warrior and my favorite Dolphin after Marino.

GREAT news finally!!! Finally the back office does the right thing. I thought this should have been done months ago. Zach IS a no doubt Hall of Fame player. Yes they should retire the number and yes he should be in the ring of honor.

My favorite moment, that I either remember OR exageratted in my head. The one one one shot vs Jerome Bettis, he stood him up like no other linebacker has and he is smaller. Not only that I think both were down for a while, and Zach was the only one to get up on his own! I also LOVED the int where Zach dove into the endzone head first after a INT!!!

Hands Down, It was the hit he put on Brown?, Patsy game rookie year. KNOCKED him OUT!! And remember JJ cuttin DelRio, second thoughts on that move, but after that hit, all was good!

Maybe Mando can help me remember the season...it was a collision of Zach Thomas with Jerome Bettis one on one, on the right side of the line of scrimmage , in which the tackle was so violent that the Bus couldn´t advance forward a single inch, instead he lose about a yard. That tells you about the courage and determination of Zach Thomas as a defender, even though his lack of size.

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