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Columbus Destroyers linebacker Leroy Thompson to retire after 13-year career

Wednesday June 11, 2008

Veteran spent most of career as fullback/linebacker and was one of six players to rush for 1,000 career yards

COLUMBUS, OhioColumbus Destroyers linebacker Leroy Thompson announced his retirement from the Arena Football League effective at the end of the 2008 regular season. The 13-year veteran is one of only six players who have rushed for over 1,000 career yards in the 21-plus year history of the League.

“I’ve seen Leroy grow as a man and as a player,” Destroyers head coach Doug Kay said. “I’m proud to say that he excels in both areas.”

Thompson (6-2, 270, Delaware State) played his first nine seasons with the Albany/Indiana Firebirds franchise, spent one season with the New Orleans VooDoo and his final three seasons with the Destroyers. He has rushed 383 times for 1,103 yards and 68 touchdowns, while adding 36 receptions for 307 yards and five touchdowns during his career. He has added 160.5 tackles (123UT-75AT) with 15.5 sacks, 21 tackles for a loss, six forced fumbles, 11 fumble recoveries, 27 pass deflections and one blocked kick on the defensive side of the ball in 152 career games. He was a member of the 1999 ArenaBowl XIII champion Albany Firebirds and the 2007 National Conference champion Destroyers.

“I want to thank the people that got me into this game; Mike Daley (current Colorado Crush head coach and former Albany/Indiana Firebirds head coach, 1997-2003) and Mike Hohensee (current Chicago Rush head coach and former Albany Firebirds head coach, 1996),” Thompson said. “I’m very grateful to have played in two ArenaBowls and been named champion once. I’ve been very fortunate to make very good friends through the years. I’d like to thank all of the fans that have come out and supported the game. And above all, I’m thankful to end my career playing for a coach like Doug Kay.”

Thompson led his team in rushing in six of his 13 seasons while finishing in the Top 10 in the AFL in rushing in five of those seasons. He finished third in 2000, fourth in 2001 and 2003, sixth in 2002 and was 10th in 1999. He also was named the AFL’s 2002 “Built Ford Tough” Man of the Year in 2002. His best offensive season came during the 2000 campaign, when he rushed 59 times for 190 yards and 14 touchdowns.

On Jan. 29, 2006, in his first game with the Destroyers against the Grand Rapids Rampage at Nationwide Arena, Thompson eclipsed the 1,000 rushing yards mark on his very first carry. He will finish his career ranked in the top-five in every AFL career-rushing category.