|Born:||July 28, 1952|
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
|Position(s)||Running back/Wide receiver|
|NFL draft||1975 / Round: 8 / Pick: 194|
Leonard Irwin Thompson (born July 28, 1952 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) is a former American football wide receiver in the National Football League who spent his entire NFL career with the Detroit Lions (1975-1986).
Thompson was an eighth-round pick in the 1975 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma State. He spent his first five seasons as a backup at halfback and wideout for the Lions (his position at halfback was why he wore #39 even after playing exclusively as a receiver, which is technically outside of the NFL's uniform numbering system [receivers were only limited to wearing numbers between 80 and 89 then]). On December 11, 1977, Thompson blocked a David Lee punt on the Baltimore Colts 21 yard line, returning it 2 yards for a touchdown with 14 seconds left in the game. The clutch play gave the Lions an improbable 13-10 victory.
In 1980, Thompson earned a starting role as wide receiver opposite Freddie Scott. Thompson caught 19 passes for 511 yards and 3 touchdowns. He caught another 214 passes over the next six seasons, including 26 touchdowns. He would lead the Lions in receiving in 1985 with 51 catches, for 736 yards and 5 scores.
Thompson's career ended when the Lions released him before the start of the 1987 season. He played all 12 seasons of his career with the Lions, scoring 39 total touchdowns.
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