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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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not sure the name of who it was, but remember it was against the pats, rookie year

I remember a game where we were playing the Bucs. They were on the 2 nd yard line abiut to score, they handed the ball off the big Mike Alstott, he went right and Zack followed him. What happened next was thebiggest collision I had ever seen. The play resulted ina field goal. Thanks Zack for the memories. Proof that heart goes a long way. The #54 should be retired.

Thank you Dolphin brass!!! Players like Thomas are what makes it fun to be a fan. I'm not going to give a specific play, because I absolutely loved the game after game consistency. The way Zach tracked the ball, the concentration he had, you could feel it through the tv set. He pursued the game with excellence and with his heart and he is one of the reasons I am a phins fan today. Thanks for being a shining light during some dark times Zach!!!

It's about time the Trifecta acknowledged greatness!!!! Zach and JT's numbers should be retired yesterday!!!!

Do I think Zach has a shot at the HOF...probably not, unless at some point there's a weaker class but by the looks of it, it won't be for a while. JT on the otherhand, he is a 1st ballot. However, this article is about Zach being recognized and therefore I will stick to him!

Zach was a keystone player on the field and off the field. He was a vocal leader, was always there to make a play (even when it was 15 yards downfield). Zach was relentles, tough, physical and extremely smart (even for a "small" guy).

I really hope that they retire his number...I understand the trifecta has no link to past players, but the fans do. By retiring Zach's number, they are giving something back to the fans. The fans are who pays EVERYONE's salaries whether it's from ticket sales, Dolphins memorbilia, etc. So give us something that we ALL want to see!!!! NO ONE DESERVES 54 EXCEPT ZACH THOMAS!!!!

Fun memories. For me Zach's motor is always running. He never quit on a play, tackling if he had to, from across the field, running somebody down from behind in the secondary. He never quit on a game. He played hard every play. He never quit on a season, and he played through some dark days for the Dolphins through no fault of his. He never quit on the team. Through all the nonsense, Wanny etc. He was a true Dolphin, a mentor, a coach on the field, and a player's player. There is only one number 54, as far as I am concerned.

BTW, the jabs at JT are totally unwarranted. JT needs to be able to retire a Dolphin as well. Both are as much a part of the soul of the Dolphins organization as Don Shula.

Favorite Zach moment was when my son was born and we named him Zach in honor Zach Thomas. Yes retire number and put him in the ring of honor.

Way to go FINS

My favorite highlight that always sticks out in my mind was when we were playing the Steelers and Zach took on "The Bus" Jerome Bettis head-on and by himself on a 3rd and goal. It was a mojor collision and Zach was not only able to stop The Bus short, but also bring him down alone! I remember saying to myself, that guy is the baddest MF'er on the team!

Two favorite momments for Zach one was the 21-0 shut out of the Pats when he laid a hell of a hit on Heath Evans and got up screaming. And then the goal line stance I believe against the Colts where they are stuffed and you see the pain on Zach's face and his arm limp but he made the play. Love me some Zach Thomas he needs to have the number retired and Ring of Honor and I agree not a first ballot but he is a Hall of Famer.

Retire the number: yeah. Class, talent, whole package.

And Frank, you stole my thunder. When I think of Thomas, it's the image of him stuffing Bettis.

Great job Miami!!

A probable Hall of Fame selection... Zack had a BETTER career than Dolphin 'Hall of Famer' LB Nick Buoniconti -- who had two Pro Bowls (and 5 AFL all-stars among many fewer teams). But Nick had the fortune of playing on a better team.

Both Nick and Zack were the same type of leaders but Zack just played at a higher level and for longer than Nick did.

Zack may be the only LB left in the NFL from his class (after greatest NFL LB of all time Ray Lewis).

Zach Thomas should be a Hall of Famer.

He is the second best MLB of his generation (behind Ray Lewis). He is superior to the very good, but still overrated, Brian Urlacher. He is far superior to Merriman and the rest of that tier.

He controlled games, he almost never missed a tackle. I know the NFL never did a good job of keeping statistics on tackles, but I feel like he had the most consistently high tackles per game average of any player that I have ever known.

Miami loves you, Zach. Thanks for all the hard work through the years and... sorry about all those concussions!

Its A Beautiful Day

Decision to Retire Zach Thomas
As A Beloved Miami Dolphin
Believe Zach Thomas Is HOF Worthy
May Be Regarded As The Greatest MLB
In Miami Dolphin History
Zach would Have Fit In Perfectly With The No-Names
To The 7 Pro Bowls
5 Time First-Team All Pro
1075 Tackles & 598 Assisted Tackles
19.5 Sacks
17 INTs for 170 YDs
4 TDs
35 PDs
16 FF
7 FR
Zach Thomas Had An Eye For The Football Second to None
No One Prepared or Played Harder Than Zach Thomas From Endless Hours of Tape Study
To Ferocious Training & Practice
Utilizing His Own Chef For Optimum Nutrition
Sleeping In A Hyperbolic Chamber For Maximum Recovery
Team Captain Zach Thomas Who Led By Example
Always Playing At High Motor Like A Heat Seeking NFL Missile With A Head On The Football
With a Fierce Grin & Trade Mark Blood Dripping Elbows
Zach Thomas`s Greatest Tribute To His Success
Was Not Signing A Contract
The New England Patriots Offered Him In February 2008 & Becoming A Trader

Thus Preserving ....

***** The Dynasty Be Fins! *****

Zach Thomas has not always been treated fairly by the Dolphins or their fans.

But life is seldom fair. Take the finale of "Survivor" as a perfect example. For the second season in a row, the greatest player in "Surivor" history - Russell - was denied the grand prize. I have nothing but contempt for the jury members who failed to give him even one vote.

As to the actual "winner" Sandra? She's talentless, annoying and ugly. Russell was definitely right - there IS something wrong with the way winners are selected. America deserves a vote.

My favorite Zach Thomas moment? When Russell called Rupert a "dumb ass."

I remember a game winning pick-6 by Zach and while running it into the endzone he did a flip and landed on his back, that's was great!!

My favorite memory is I think the same as bootang25. The INT and flip in the endzone!! I still giggle about that when I see the highlight.

I say yes on all the questions. I believe he was good enough for all these honors. Someone brought up Webb and the Marks brothers for retired jerseys. Those were great players, but they never reached the level of Thomas. Thomas was a 5 time first-team all-pro. Thomas also made 7 Pro Bowls. On the other hand, Webb also made 7 Pro Bowl, but only made 2 first-team all-pro. Clayton and Duper were never named to the first-team all-pro team. Clayton made 5 Pro Bowls and Duper made 3. First-team all-pro is the best of the best. It is good measuring stick to how to rate players.

My favorite memory was him flipping in the end zone. That was neat. It would be great if Zach and JT went into the Hall the same year. That would be perfect.

Its A Beautiful Day
Dont Let It Get Away

Congrats #54 Miami Dolphin MLB Zach Thomas

Thanks To The Miami Dolphins Organization
For Bringing Our Boy, Home!

***** The Dynasty Be Fins! *****

I couldn't find a youtube clip of that Jerome Bettis hit, but here is a "greatest HITS" of sorts that has the interception/somersault against TN, the hits on Heath Evans and L. Coles, and a few others:


Zach Thomas is one of my all time favorite Phins Hall of Fame Career for sure. I would put him down as one of the best linebackers Miami has ever had


What Would U Rather Have

A Million Dollars or

Zach Thomas`s Helmet Full of Nickels! LOL

Congrats Zach!

Its A Beautiful Day!

Yes on ring of honor.
No on HOF and jersey being retired.
No one played with more heart.
He's my second favorite Dolphin of all time & I've been a fan since 1972 when I was 7.

I think it was 1999?

Took my son and daughter on a 2 hour ride down to San Diego to a pre-season practice with the Chargers.

Jr. Seau nearly ran us over on his golf cart. Woudn't even make eye contact with the fans. A real pompous attitude, total asshole. Tons of fans were yelling at Marino in street clothes for 2 hours. He looked to be eating sunflower seeds and completely ignored everyone.

As the players exited the practice field one player of the bunch acknowledged the fans. Zach Thomas! My kid yelled his name and he actually made a u-turn reached out and high-fived my kids as he ran by. I will never forget the look on the face of my 10 year old son and his little sister.

Zach Thomas was an awesome player and from what can tell an even more awesome person.

Go Zack!
Go Phins!

Congrats to Zach and the Organization for doing this...Zach will always be a HAll of Famer to Dolphin fans!!!

Yes to ring of honor, Yes to HOF, on the fence for retiring his number

Ahh, all the bloggers (me included) are happy. even Nataniel Dodswoth post in this blog again.
For me Zach deserves a place in the Ring of honor and Hall of Fame.
Suddenly I have de need to buy me another jersey with his number.
Could not be a bad idea a documentary with his geatest hits.

¡Y QUE VIVA ZACH THOMAS! ¡pero como no!

Next Up
The Ring of Honor

Zach Thomas Fell Into A Burning Ring Of Honor
Zach Went Down, Down, Down And The Flames Went Higher
And It Burns, Burns, Burns, The Ring Of Honor
The Ring Of Honor


The Ring of Honor
The Ring Of Honor

Yes please retire Zach's number; Yes he deserves the ring of fame And yes Thomas is a Hall of Fame prospect, no doubt of it.

My fave moment has to be the INT TD against The Titans and diving into the End Zone on a Sunday Night Game!!!

Yes to retiring his #54 And YES He should be added to the Ring zig Honnor... With Out A Doubt!!

Zach deserves to be in the hall of fame however I'd be surprised if he made it. Had Ray Lewis played in the NFC, both men would have been perennial pro bowlers in their respective conferences. Since Ray had a longer, more distinguished career, it takes away from Zach.
The Dophins should retire his number and place it in the Ring of Fame. Everything embodying greatness within the Dolphins family, Zach has lived up to it: excellence, community service, teamwork, leadership and longevity.
Favorite memory: Zach crushing Pats WR Shawn Jefferson during a slot or in route during his rookie? year.

Sunday night game int against titants. Great game

clearly the best most valuable defensive player in my 30 years as a fan. I remember John Offerdahl back in the marino days, and he was very good, but Zach finally made the Fins a real formidable defensive team. He left everything on the field. Congratulations Zach!

Zach Thomas is a legend and deserves all the accolades that come his way

The best Thomas moment? Every time he put on the no #54 jersey was a great moment because he gave everything to the Dolphins organisation and was incredibly productive in all the seasons he played in Miami

Thanks for everything Zach. Absolutely no doubt we'll see you in Canton

It must have been his first or second year and it was a sweltering 108 degrees at Sun Devil Stadium on a Sunday night. The Dolphins were throughly trouncing the Cards and me and a couple of hundred fans started calling the players names late in the game. After numerous attempts we were ignored which was disheartening. He was too busy pulling up his pants staring at the field. Then we began chanting Zach and we got so loud he could not ignore us any longer. Finally he turned around and realized the stadium was half full of Phin fans and he recieved a thunderous roar of approval for his acknowledgement. Thanks Zach for taking the second we all appreciated it.

watch your money......the stock market is down 340 points .


Zach highlight real including the Coles hit (my first ever Dolphins game I was sitting behind the Dolphins bench 2 rows from the field on Christmas wearing a Santa Hat and a Zach Thomas Jersey..my best friend wearing a Curtis Martin Jets jersey and a santa hat..we ended up on the jumbotron twice..the second time I put him in a headlock to show my Jets hatred..that's what he gets for rooting on the Jets!) and the TD flip against the Titans is in there too. Some nice photos as well.

As a 35 year die hard phin fan he's at the top of my list. You don't find many that are refreshingly honest and wear thier heart on their sleeve like he did. Always got the impression he played for the love of the game and the love of his team. I was there his 1st game against the Pats way up in the endzone, and he was by far the quickest, most intense and most entertaining player on field-- watching him run sidelive to sideline in that game was my favoite memory of him... thinking "this guy is really really good"



Hope Zach has no money in the stock market ALoco

Hope He Hid The Money In His Hyperbaric Chamber

Best Zach memory, Goal line stand against the Bears. 2006 maybe?

GREAT POST ARMANDO, MY LIFE WOULD BE EMPTY WITHOUT YOU !!! Zach Thomas should be in the Hall of Fame. So should Thin Lizzy and the Doobie Brothers...seriously.

Retire the number. Put in ring of honor. A true class act on and off the field. Never saw anyone play with more desire, heart or intensity than Zach Thomas. Hoped this would play out in this way. Dol-fans worldwide love #54!

I love Zach Thomas , he's one of my alltime favorite's after Dan Marino.. I am very happy Miami is starting to embrace the past great Dolphin players.. His number should be retired!!

One of the all timers for sure and captain of the all time Dolphin defense if you ask me.

I love this guy and my favourite moment was meeting him in his rookie year after the Buffalo game. It was a very tense match up which Miami won with a T Buck interception to win the game. The game also signalled the end of Jim Kelly's time in the NFL.

I was just a kid at the time and got to meet Zach after it. He told a group of us that we were crazy to cheer so openly with jerseys on and all for Miami in Buffalo. I was so pumped that I patted him kind of hard on the back of the shoulder. He must have been really sore because he gave me a look that almost made me crap my pants. Like I said - I was just a kid - what did I know? But I made him smile by pointing out his performance against the Seahawks the week before where he got 13 solo tackles in a losing effort. His reply was "doesn't matter man, we lost the game". That's all that mattered to this guy - team always first. What a treat to watch his Miami Dolphins career.

But he autographed my jersey, I still have it hanging in my closet. I will have it until I die.

But I don't think they shoudl retire teh number or any number. I think they should save it for special players though that will be able to continue the tradition. That makes it more special in my opinion.

Yes on the HOF! he was elite.

Great News - Go Zach!!!!!

I don't believe in retiring numbers

Zach should see the ring of honor.

I think this shows JT will also be honored the same way when he finally packs it in.

Lots of great memories of Zach;I was at the Jacksonville home game in Zach's final season with the team and remember one especially great play when Zach burst through the right side of the Jag's line and ran-down "the pocket Hercules" from behind--stopping him for a loss! And how much older was Zach than Jones-Drew when he made that great play?!

Are you kidding with you questions? Does he belong in the ring of honor? Do we retire his number? Does he deserve Hall of Fame consideraton?

7 Pro Bowl Selections - How many others with SEVEN Pro Bowl Selections are NOT in the Hall of Fame? Can't imagen thier are an abondance!

The rest is automatic

Best memory? Zach running over 'the bus' (betis) like a speed bump. I remember that betis got stuffed up the middle and tried to bounce it outside. Zach jumped over a blocker and then flattened the bus with a helmet straight to his chest. Definetly should be in the ring o fame. I would put him there before his brother in law.


Timbo made Zach. For those of you over 10 years old google "Tim Bowens Esiason" and see what he did in the famous spike the ball game. It was the most dominating defensive series I've ever seen a Dolphin have. Timbo was was a freakin bulldozer against the jets inferior err I mean interior line.

Yes on retiring number. Yes on ring of honor. Yes on hall of fame. The guy was superman. He was everywhere. Zach Thomas exemplified everything a football player should be. A ferocious, hardworking, team player. I'm glad the org finally came through with this and showed him the respect he deserves. If they didn't, I and other true Dolfans would have stormed the orange carpet.

Ring of Honor? - They should call it the Ring of Zach

Retire 54? - They should retire 53 and 55 as well because nobody else comes close.

HOF? - I believe a spot just opened up in the linebacker wing.

Favorite moment - Every game for 60 minutes from sideline-to-sideline. How do you choose?


Why are we so in love with the PRO BOWL. Most players don't even want to play in it and fake injuries. Are we that starved for a SUPER BOWL.

Wait don't answer that because I know the answer is yes. I am too. But I woudn't rush to put a Pro Bowler in the HOF or retire his number.

More to follow

Wow this one I didn´t expect from Miami!! I´m very happy for Zach, he really deserved it, he is a true dolphin!!

About retiring the number, i think that is not really necessary. In soccer they dont do that, and alot of all-time player have passed by real madrid and barcelona and all the numbers are still there.

I would consider more some other kind of tribute...like a statue...or something like that.

P.D: JT is gonna what this treatment too next year when he retires.

It was my good luck that the Dolphins were going to play the Detroit Lions for Thanksgiving in 2006 just two months after I returned from a year in Iraq. My family celebrated Thanksgiving in Detroit with my sister that year and she was able to get tickets from co-workers so my Dad, brothers-in-law, and I could go to the game.

After the game, hanging out near the team bus for a chance to talk with some Dolphins players, Zach Thomas saw the sign my niece made (Just Back from Iraq - Thanks for the Tickets). He sent his signed game jersey over to me. Zach Thomas is a class act, glad to hear he's going to retire a Dolphin.

By the way, Armando, I tried sending a thank you email through the Dolphin's web site but I'm not sure he ever received the note of gratitude. If you still have better means of contacting Zach, please forward my thanks for the jersey.

I am very glad they are doing this. I have said it in the past and will say it again, as a huge Montreal Canadiens fan, I love the way the Canadiens keep ties great players from the past. The Canadiens have "ambassadors" of the game, and include past greats in almost every ceremony they do. It really does keep the fans of the past emotionally tied to a team of players that weren't even born when we last won a Super Bowl.

So, bravo to the Dolphins. Always honor and remember your past!

As to Zach memories - it is funny.. as I was reading the above, I started remembering the great moments noted, but had I not taken a look - I was having trouble remembering specific plays. I guess that is not because he didn't make great plays (he obviously did), but biggest the biggest impact he had on me as a fan was his all out dedication to his craft.

What I remember is watching a play unfold... and always seeing Zach a few steps ahead.. his head on a swivel, his eyes and feet always moving, he sometimes appeared to be running away from the play, only to see him being right at the heart of it once it unfolded. He knew tendencies more than anyone I ever watched play.

I guess that is it.. when you look at his size and speed, he made even his routine plays look great because you could never understand how he was there so fast.. that anticipation and instict proved more valuable than a few inches or a little more speed.

I trust he will be ring of honor worthy... and I would make the trip to see him inducted to the HOF if he made it.. but am not sure he has the elite status across the league that we feel he might deserve.

Nice work Mando, advocating something that was likely to happen anyway. You are a pillar of So. Fla sports journalism.

On to Zach. Great to see him retire a Dolphin. I say yes to the Ring of Honor, no to the HOF and no to retiring his number. He was great, but a notch below Buoniconti.

Favorite Zach moment: I think it was in '99 vs. the Steelers. HUGE hole opens up in the line with Jerome Bettis going in one side and Zach going in the other. Big collision and Bettis stops dead in his tracks. Awesome hit!

Zach is definitely one of the best ever and a fan favorite up there with Marino. He wasn't big enough and fast enough, but he sure had heart enough! And he is a class act. Those are the kind of guys that make you proud to be a Dolfan. I sure hope they retire his number because there will never be another Zach. Dolfans love him to death and always will. I hope he signs today and they retire the number. Thanks for everything Zach!

My favorite Zach Thomas moment was when I visited Dolphin camp. Zach was signing autographs and was being swamped at the fence. There was a boy about 6 or 7 trying to get his autograph and everyone was reaching over his head and he lost behind the sea of hands. His mother in the bleachers kept yelling for Zach to see her boy. Finally, Zach looked up stopped signing autographs and asked which child was hers. She pointed him out and he signed an autograph for him. That told me all I needed to know about him as a person....Also, got a great close picture of him as well.


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