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Bills Today: Bruce breaks down jersey retirement for Thurman

Posted May 17, 2018

Here's the Bills news of note for May 17th.

1 – Bruce breaks down jersey retirement for Thurman
On his 52nd birthday Wednesday, Thurman Thomas was told that his jersey will be officially retired by the Buffalo Bills. While Thomas joined One Bills Live to talk to Steve Tasker and John Murphy about the honor, a Bruce Smith from Virginia called in to congratulate his former teammate and tell him there’s no sense in trying to get ready for the ceremony.

“You can’t prepare for it. It’s even more emotional than your speech at the Hall of Fame because you’re in front of the home crowd,” said Smith. “Eighty-thousand fans, and I know, I actually walked up to the podium and I was standing in front of all those Bills fans and I was speechless, I was motionless. All I could do was just look at the crowd, and look at all of the fans, and I turned and looked to Carmen, Alston and I turned and looked to my teammates Thurman and Darryl (Talley) and Jim (Kelly) and then I turned around and I saw the Pegulas, and it was just an overwhelming experience and one I will never ever forget.”

The Bills will be retiring Thomas’ jersey on the Bills Monday Night Football game against the Patriots in October 29.

Before Smith got off the phone, Smith put into perspective how rare it is to have one’s jersey retired in the NFL.

“I’m a huge statistic guy. Out of the 100-year history of professional football, there’s roughly just a little more than 150 players that have ever had their jersey retired,” said Smith. “And that’s less than the number that’s actually in the Pro Football Hall of Fame by about half. So, this is quite an accomplishment, it’s quite a statement being made by the new owners Terry and Kim Pegula and congratulations to the city of Buffalo. You guys are welcoming a star athlete, a star individual and a man of great integrity to be ever enshrined in being having his jersey retired in Buffalo Bills history.”

Smith was only the second player in Bills history to have his jersey retired in Bills history, the first being Jim Kelly.

2 - Pat DiMarco’s preparations for the new offense
With a raspy voice after screaming, yelling and dodgeball from the Bills workout for the day, Pat DiMarco joined One Bills Live to discuss the offseason so far, and what his job as the Bills fullback entails.

With a new scheme being set up for the offense with the introduction of Brian Daboll, DiMarco told One Bills Live about that process.

“I was familiar with the scheme last year with Rico, so I’m kind of having to learn a new offense again, which is cool because it locks you in,” said DiMarco. “Everybody is on the same playing field, so you’re kind of picking up vibes from everyone throughout the entire team. So, this time of year is about working on the details and assignments and stuff like that, and in the weight room, it’s (about) getting stronger. We’re competing. I’m lifting with Shady or I’m lifting with this guy and we’re pushing each other. It’s fun to see guys push their limits.”

Even though Daboll is new to the Bills this season, he is nothing new to DiMarco. Knowing McDermott wanted to have a fullback on the roster, the Bills offense will still be using DiMarco in the system

“I had Daboll in 2012 in Kansas City, so I played in his offense. It’s kind of tweaked, expanded a little bit since then, but it’s an exciting time. It’s a new offense. It’s a lot mentally to prepare for right now, but I like how the offense is set up, I like how he’s setting up matchups, I like a lot of the schemes that we’re doing. So, I think it’s going to be a success.”

3 - Simms picks Allen for Offensive Rookie of the Year
Lately Tremaine Edmunds has been in the spotlight with several NFL analysts pegging him as a top candidate for defensive rookie of the year. On the other side of the ball, now Allen is getting a prediction that comes from former NFL quarterback Chris Simms.

“I have tremendous confidence in this kid's talent, and I think he is going to be the starter from day one,” Simms said. “This is a Buffalo Bills football team that was a good football team that I think has a good support system around him. They should be able to run the football. They're going to be able to protect him.

“Weapons on the outside are not great. But I do think within that offense and some of the things we talked about, their defense being good, I think he can have a good enough year statistically and wins wise to where he's in this conversation for rookie of the year.”

The seventh overall pick from the 2018 draft will still need to compete for the job this offseason, and A.J. McCarron and Nathan Peterman certainly will not be in a hurry to hand the offense over to him. McDermott has already stated many times that, like all players, Allen will have to earn his time.

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