Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas will be the last Buffalo Bills player to ever wear the number 34 jersey.
"It's great to be at this age that I am rght now and look back on all the things he's done....while being such a great dad and live in that," said Thurman's daughter Angel. "It's really great to see."
Angel was just a toddler when her dad played in four straight Superbowls with the Bills, and while she doesn't remember much about his playing years, she knows well many of the lessons he's brought from the field to his home.
"Perseverance, he never lets us give up," she said.
There's a little thing called fate in this family. Thurman and his wife Patti met 31 years ago while she was attending Oklahoma State. Patti, a Buffalo native was a golfer at the school. Thurman was the running back of the football team at that time. Out of the 27 different NFL teams he could have been drafted to, number 34 was brought to the Buffalo Bills.
"It's really destiny I guess," said Patti Thomas, Thurman's wife.
Patti and Thurman have raised four children together, Olivia, Angel, Annika and Thurman III. Angel says her dad is sweet, but he's all about tough love.
"He's very sweet, but if any of us are having a tough time, he always tells us we can do it."
"He cares for his family, he would do anything for us," said Thurman III.
The Thomas family calls Western New York their permanent home. They give back through the Thurman Thomas Family Foundation. They also run the 34 Group, a minority owned construction company that's been involved in key job-creating opportunities and project in Buffalo like work at the Northland Workforce Training Center and work at local hospitals.
"We wanted to get involved in a company in WNY that we were able to employ people in WNY and be part of projects here," said Patti.
One thing has been a constant in this family, the number 34. They say it's an honor to watch Thurman live in this once-in-a-lifetime moment, as his jersey is retired for good.
"It's our number and I'm excited because it's going to be our number forever," said Patti. "Not only our number but everyone's number in Western New York.