Now in its 22nd season, the luncheon features some of the biggest names in professional football and raises an estimated $30,000 annually for the local Salvation Army services.
A limited number of tickets for Friday’s event are still available and may be purchased by contacting Tonya Percell at the Johnson City Salvation Army at 926-2101.
A native of Texas and a member of the both the collegiate and professional halls of fame, Thomas attended college at Oklahoma State University, where he was a first team selection for the College Football All-American team in 1985 and 1987 and finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting during his senior year.
He began his professional career in 1988 as a first-round draft pick at Buffalo, where he played 12 of his 13 NFL seasons.
With Bills teammates Jim Kelly and Andrew Reed, Thomas was part of the famous offense that led the team to four straight Super Bowl appearances, and he became the first player to score a touchdown in four consecutive Super Bowls.
Thomas is the only player in to lead the NFL in total yards from scrimmage for four consecutive seasons and one of only six NFL running backs with more than 400 receptions and more than 10,000 yards rushing.
He set NFL playoff records with the most career points (126), touchdowns (21), and consecutive playoff games with a touchdown (9).
He played in five straight Pro Bowls between 1989 and 1993, was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1991 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007.
After signing with Miami in 2000, Thomas suffered a career-ending knee injury in November 2000 and retired from professional football the following February under a one-day contract with the Bills.
He continues to hold the Bills’ all-time rushing record with 11,938 yards and the team’s rushing from scrimmage record of 16,279 yards.
Since his retirement, Thomas has been involved in variety of business enterprises and was elected vice chairman of the New York State Tourism Advisory Council in 2014.
He established the Thurman Thomas Foundation in 1992 and is known for his mental health advocacy and open discussion of the effects of concussions he suffered during his football career.
In addition to raising awareness for the Salvation Army, proceeds from the Souper Bowl help fund the Johnson City homeless shelter and feeding programs that last year provided 75,198 hot meals to the hungry and 8,296 nights of shelter to the homeless.
Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.