|No. 77, 79|
|Born:||February 14, 1958|
|Height:||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Weight:||195 lb (88 kg)|
|High school:||Detroit (MI) Chadsey|
|NFL Draft:||1979 / Round: 8 / Pick: 219|
|* Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Bruce Edward Thornton (born February 14, 1958 in Detroit, Michigan) is a former American football defensive lineman in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Cardinals. He was also a member of the Denver Gold of the United States Football League. He played college football at the University of Illinois.
He accepted a football scholarship from the University of Illinois. As a junior, he was a starter at defensive tackle and led the Big Ten Conference in sacks with 10. In his final year, he was moved to a backup role behind John Thiede, on a team that finished with a record of 1-8-2. He finished his college career with 32 sacks, placing him at the time fifth in school's history.
Thornton was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the eighth round (219th overall) of the 1979 NFL Draft, after dropping because of his diminished production as a college senior. As a rookie, he helped to compensate the loss of Ed "Too Tall" Jones to his boxing retirement, by coming on passing downs in place of Larry Cole at left defensive end and unofficially finishing second on the team with 6 sacks. His best game came against the Chicago Bears when he registered 2 sacks, one pass defensed and a blocked extra point.
In 1980, the return of Jones reduced his playing time, unofficially posting 3 sacks, including one against Vince Ferragamo in the NFC Wild Card Game. He would remain as a pass-rush specialist during the rest of his career with the Cowboys.
Thornton was waived on August 31, 1981, before being re-signed after Don Smerek injured a knee in the second game of the season and was placed on the injured reserve list. He was cut on September 6, 1982.
On November 22, 1983, he was signed by the Chicago Blitz of the United States Football League. On March 28, 1984, he was traded to the Denver Gold in exchange for linebacker Bob Knapton and an undisclosed 1985 draft choice.