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Former Giants TE Aaron Thomas Passes Away at 86

A Tribute to the Giants’ Legend Aaron Thomas: Fierce on Field, Prophetic Off

Aaron Thomas, New York Giants Tight End

Last week we lost a true titan of the football world. Aaron Thomas, a legendary figure in the New York Giants’ historical roster, passed away in his home in Corvallis, Oregon, following an extended struggle with illness. Mr. Thomas, who reached the impressive age of 86, is remembered by all who knew about the Giants’ prowess on the game field.

His journey with the Giants spanned a commendable period from 1962 to 1970, during which he delivered superb performances in 116 regular-season games. His contributions aren’t just a nostalgic trip down memory lane, they are etched in the franchise’s record books, firmly marking him as one of the team’s most prolific receivers.

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Thomas, ranking 17th in franchise history with an impressive tally of 254 receptions, stands as one of the most memorable playmakers to represent the Giants on the gridiron. However, his prowess did not stop there. He secured a place as the 14th highest receiver, with a total yardage of 4,253 yards.

Perhaps his most notable accolade was his remarkable ability to find the endzone. Thomas was tied for the sixth position with a total of 35 touchdown catches, demonstrating an adeptness at scoring that few have been able to rival. It’s worth noting he achieved this while showing an admirable resilience, missing just seven games due to injury during his noteworthy career.

Aaron Thomas’s journey in the NFL started with a fourth-round draft pick in 1961. Shortly thereafter, Thomas was transferred to the Giants after only two games in 1962. This may have been a surprising move at the time, but in the coming years this decision would prove to be positively prophetic.

By 1964, a mere two years after his transfer to the Giants, Thomas had surged to the forefront. He led the team with 43 receptions, amounting to 624 yards and six touchdowns. His talent in that memorable season resulted in him being honored with selection to the Pro Bowl.

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Three years later, in 1967, Thomas hit new heights with career-high totals. He managed to score 51 catches, covering 877 yards, and scored nine touchdowns. It’s clear 1967 was definitely a year that sealed his legendary status within the franchise.

After deciding to hang up his cleats following the 1970 season, Thomas didn’t settle into a quiet retirement. He demonstrated the same grit and determination that served him so well on the football field in his new ventures. Moving to Los Angeles, Aaron transitioned into the financial world, enjoying a successful career as a stockbroker.

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Furthering his entrepreneurial ventures, Thomas joined forces with his father to acquire a restaurant, bar, and bowling alley in Yreka, California. The duo turned it into a popular local hotspot, showing that their skills went well beyond the football field.

Following this successful chapter, Thomas decided to return to Oregon. Shooting for the life of service and contribution, he took up the mantle of head football coach at Klamath Falls High School, where he spent three enriching years in the early 1980s.

In a fitting return to his roots, he eventually moved back to his alma mater, Oregon State. There, he took on the role of the assistant director of the Beaver Club, influencing the next generation of players until his retirement in 1989.

Aaron Thomas leaves behind a proud legacy, not just in his considerable achievements, but also through his family. He is survived by his loving wife, Joan, and their four children Troy, Robb, Lance, and Leslie.

The loss of a football legend such as Aaron Thomas is deeply felt by the entire community. Our thoughts go out to his family and everyone who respected him, both for his contributions to the gridiron and his life off the field. His legacy will continue to inspire future generations of footballers and community members alike.


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