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Former OU star Clendon Thomas headed to College Football Hall of Fame

BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, mbaldwin@opubco.com Published: May 17, 2011
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/articleid/3568883/1/pictures/1420725">Photo -  Clendon Thomas reacts after learning he would be inducted into the The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame during the Sooner Spectacular, Saturday, May 14, 2011, at the State Fair Park in Oklahoma City. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Clendon Thomas reacts after learning he would be inducted into the The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame during the Sooner Spectacular, Saturday, May 14, 2011, at the State Fair Park in Oklahoma City. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

A second-round selection, Thomas played 11 years in the NFL with the Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers. Playing primarily defensive back, because of his size and speed, Thomas was considered one of the top athletes in the league.

Selected to the 1963 Pro Bowl and a three-time second team All-Pro selection, Thomas played in 137 professional games. He compiled 27 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries.

Thomas, 75, is a member of the Steelers Legends team. He also intercepted a Paul Hornung pass and returned it for a touchdown.

"He was a really good athlete," Harris said. “He had good size and speed.”

One of 15 players selected by the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame announced on Tuesday, Thomas will be inducted at the NFF dinner on Dec. 6 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. He will officially be enshrined in the summer of 2012.

“There are a lot of great players that have played this game,” Thomas said. “The odds are not real good (to be selected). With all the great teammates I had, this is humbling.”

OU has 19 players and five former coaches in the College Football Hall of Fame, tops in the Big 12.

Thomas said what made the honor even more special was he had the opportunity to talk with former teammates at Saturday's event.

“I even got to see some OU team members that were older than me for that deal for Sam,” Thomas said. “The wonderful thing was to see all those guys like Jakie (Sandefer) and Bill Krisher. It was really neat to see all those guys.”


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