Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Missouri Southern receiver made big splash 10 years ago this week

A former Missouri Southern wide receiver made a big splash 10 years ago this weekend, according to an article in the Washington Times, and it is probably not the one you might suspect.
While Rod Smith's two Super Bowl rings with the Denver Broncos have made him probably the best known MSSU football player to this point, it was James Thrash who had the big day in 1997 for the Washington Redskins:

Ten years ago this weekend after a lame-duck season in Houston and another marooned in Memphis, the Tennessee Oilers — not yet the Titans — finally debuted in Nashville.

Their welcome to the Music City was ruined by a Washington Redskins rookie free agent from tiny Missouri Southern.

The unknown James Thrash, who had signed less than a month earlier after being cut by Philadelphia, returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown to put the Redskins ahead, brought another back 36 yards and added three catches for 63 yards, including a 35-yarder that set up a field goal.

That performance — and his 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown the previous week at Tampa Bay — earned the longest of long shots with a job behind such receivers as Henry Ellard, Michael Westbrook, Alvin Harper, Leslie Shepherd and Albert Connell.

Ten years later, all those wideouts are long retired, but the 32-year-old Thrash remains a Redskin — after a three-year stint with the Eagles that ended with a trade back to Washington in 2004

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