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Longtime Giants tight end Aaron Thomas dies at 86 after lengthy illness

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USATSI

Former New York Giants tight end Aaron Thomas died at the age of 86 last week in his home in Corvallis, Oregon. Thomas was battling an illness. On Friday, the Giants confirmed the news of his death and noted that he died on April 26.

Thomas was one of the top players at his position in team history, playing 116 regular-season games for New York, missing just seven games in his career. 

He spent the majority of his career (1962-70) with the Giants, with one Pro Bowl appearance during that time. He played for the San Francisco 49ers in 1961 and for just two games in 1962, before he was traded to New York.

Two years later, Thomas led the Giants with 43 receptions for 624 yards and six touchdowns and was selected to the Pro Bowl. In 1967, he posted career-high totals of 51 catches, 877 yards and nine touchdowns. He retired following the 1970 season.

With the Giants, he is No. 17 in franchise history in receptions with 254, No. 14 in franchise history in yards with 4,253 and his 35 touchdown receptions are tied for sixth-best. 

His son, Robb, who was a wide receiver in the NFL for 10 years, commented on his father’s career, comparing him to a current star tight end.

“He’s almost like the early version of [Kansas City Chiefs tight end] Travis Kelce,” Robb said. “He was a tight end and flanker, but he really ran good routes and had a good feel about getting into open space.”

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