Zach Thomas Biography

Zach Thomas is a retired American college and professional football player who played as a middle linebacker. Check out this biography to know about his childhood, family, personal life, career, and achievements.

Quick Facts

Birthday: September 1, 1973

Nationality: American

Famous: American Football Players American Men

Age: 46 Years, 46 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Virgo

Also Known As: Zachary Michael Thomas

Born Country: United States

Born in: Pampa, Texas, United States

Famous as: American Football Player

Height: 5'11" (180 cm), 5'11" Males


Spouse/Ex-: Maritza Thomas (m. 2006)

father: Steve Thomas

mother: Bobby Thomas

siblings: Bart Thomas, Katina Taylor

U.S. State: Florida, Texas

More Facts

education: Texas Tech University

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Zach Thomas is a retired American college and professional football player who played in the position of middle linebacker. He played for the ‘Texas Tech Red Raiders’ football team while attending the ‘Texas Tech University’ and became a unanimous ‘All-American.’ He was selected by the ‘Miami Dolphins’ in the fifth round during the 1996 ‘National Football League (NFL) Draft.’ He played for 13 seasons in the ‘NFL,’ which included first 12 seasons with the ‘Dolphins’ and a final season with the ‘Dallas Cowboys.’ Zachary’s ‘NFL’ statistics in the 184 games that he played in the league include 1,720 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 17 interceptions, 17 forced fumbles, 8 fumble recoveries, and 4 touchdowns. He was part of the ‘Pro Bowl’ seven times, the ‘First-Team All-Pro’ five times, the ‘Second-Team All-Pro’ twice, and the ‘NFL 2000s All-Decade Team’ once. He became the ‘NFL Alumni Linebacker of the Year’ twice and the ‘AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year’ too. He was also inducted into the ‘Miami Dolphins Honor Roll’ and the ‘College Football Hall of Fame.’

Childhood & Early Life
College Football
  • He played as a 3-year starting linebacker for the ‘Texas Tech Red Raiders’ football team while attending the ‘Texas Tech University.’ He was a ‘First-Team All-American’ in 1994 and became the ‘Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year’ in both 1994 and 1995.
  • He was a ‘First-Team All-SWC’ and a unanimous ‘First-Team All-American’ as a senior in 1995. He was also a finalist for the ‘Butkus Award’ and was inducted into the ‘Texas Tech Hall Of Fame.’ Years later, in 2015, he was inducted into the ‘College Football Hall of Fame.’.
Professional Career
  • During the 1996 ‘NFL Draft,’ Zachary was selected by the ‘Miami Dolphins’ in the fifth round (154th overall). He signed a 3-year, $ 577,000 contract with them at the league minimum on July 3, 1996. Zachary’s impressive performance in the training camp led head coach Jimmy Johnson to officially name him as a starting middle linebacker at the start of the regular season. He continued to retain the position all through his tenure with the ‘Dolphins.’
  • The 1996 season-opener of the ‘Dolphins’ against the ‘New England Patriots’ marked the professional regular season debut of Zachary. He made his first career sack in the game. His first career tackle and first career sack were made against running back Curtis Martin and quarterback Drew Bledsoe of the ‘Patriots’ in the game. He completed his rookie season with 153 combined tackles, 2 sacks, and 3 interceptions.
  • In 1996, he became the ‘NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month’ for October, garnered an ‘All-Rookie’ selection, and became the ‘AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year.’
  • He suffered a fractured fibula on August 4, 1997, during the first preseason-opener of the ‘Dolphins’ and had to stay off the field for the rest of the preseason. He later returned and started all 15 games he played in the 1997 season.
  • He finished the 1998 season with 133 combined tackles, 3 interceptions, and 2 sacks, playing and starting in 16 games. He was the ‘AFC Defensive Player of the Month’ in September 1998. He was also the ‘NFL Alumni Association's Linebacker of the Year’ and received the ‘Dolphins' Leadership Award’ in 1998. His career first ‘First-Team All-Pro’ selection happened that year. He was also chosen for the 1998 ‘All-Madden Team.’
  • He signed a 5-year, $22.50 million contract, inclusive of a signing bonus of $4.50 million with the ‘Dolphins’ on February 13, 1999. The $6.5 million salary and the bonus made him the highest-paid player of the team. His career’s first ‘Pro Bowl’ selection came with the 2000 ‘Pro Bowl.’
  • His career-high of 18 combined tackles (9 solo) came during a 2001 season match against the ‘Oakland Raiders,’ where the ‘Dolphins’ had an 18–15 victory. He became the ‘AFC Defensive Player of the Week’ in weeks 1 and 16. He was also voted the ‘Dolphins MVP’ by South Florida media and fans. He was selected as part of the ‘All-Iron Team’ and received the ‘PFWA Dolphins Chapter "Good Guy" Award’ in 2001. He was also chosen to play in the 2002 ‘Pro Bowl.’
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  • He continued his impressive performance and went on to sign a 5-year, $33.75 million contract extension, inclusive of a signing bonus of $10.50 million, with the ‘Dolphins’ on March 27, 2003. He was selected for the 2004 ‘Pro Bowl’ and garnered his 5th ‘All-Pro’ selection in 6 years.
  • The 2005 season marked his tenth season with both the ‘NFL’ and the ‘Dolphins.’ He featured in the seventh ‘Pro Bowl’ selection of his career when he was chosen to play in the 2006 ‘Pro Bowl.’ With this, he tied in the third spot for most ‘Pro Bowl’ features in the history of the club. He also earned the feat of recording the maximum number of ‘Pro Bowl’ selections as a defensive player in the history of the franchise.
  • He started in all 16 games in the 2006 season and recorded a career-high 21 combined tackles on December 17, 2006, in a match against the ‘Buffalo Bills’ that ended in a 21–0 loss. He finished the season with a career-high 165 combined tackles (103 solo), apart from 1 interception and 3 sacks. He was chosen for the 2007 ‘Pro Bowl’ on December 20, 2006, as part of the ‘AFC Roster.’
  • During the 2007 season, Zachary was placed on the injured reserve list due to his injuries and health issues. He played and started only 5 games in the season. His contract was terminated by the ‘Dolphins,’ and he was released on February 14, 2008.
  • He then signed a 1-year, $3 million contract, inclusive of a signing bonus of $1 million, with the ‘Dallas Cowboys’ on February 23, 2008. He started in 14 of the 16 matches he played for the team and finished the 2008 season with 94 combined tackles (65 solo), 1 sack, and 3 pass deflections.
  • During the 2009 offseason, Zachary, an unrestricted free agent, signed a year’s contract worth $2 million with the ‘Kansas City Chiefs’ on April 11. However, he was released on September 5, after he suffered a concussion while in the training camp. This prompted him to file a grievance in October that year against the ‘Chiefs’ for discharging him sans any injury settlement while recovering.
  • He was signed to a day-long ceremonial contract, officially worth $1, by the ‘Dolphins’ on May 18, 2010 so that he could retire as a member of the club. He is the owner of the ‘Zach's Club 54’ in Lubbock and Amarillo.
Family & Personal Life
  • Zachary married Maritza Thomas on July 8, 2006.
  • Zachary’s sister, Katina, was married to the now-retired American football defensive end and outside linebacker Jason Taylor from 2000 to 2015.

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