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Former Steelers RB Sidney Thornton Dies at 68



Steelers Sidney Thornton
Pittsburgh Steelers' Sidney Thornton (38), eludes Miami Dolphins Rusty Chambers (51) and Norris Thomas to score the first touchdown of AFC playoff game, Sunday, Dec. 30, 1979 at Pittsburgh. Thornton scored on third play from one yard line on a goal line stand. (AP Photo/R.C. Greenawalt)

Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Sidney Thornton died at the age of 68, the team announced on Wednesday night.

Thornton was a second-round selection by the Steelers in 1977 out of Northwestern State, a small school in Shreveport, Louisiana. The New Orleans native played all six of his NFL seasons with the Black and Gold, and was a member of the Super Bowl XIII and XIV championship teams in 1979 and 1980. Thornton gained 86 total yards and scored his first postseason touchdown against the Miami Dolphins in the 1979 divisional game. He also caught a 22-yard pass in Super Bowl XIV against the Los Angeles Rams.

In 74 career games (21 starts), Thornton compiled 1,512 rushing yards on 356 carries (4.2 average) and 18 rushing touchdowns. He also recorded 46 receptions for 515 yards and six touchdowns. Thornton’s best season came in 1979,  rushing for 585 yards on 118 carries (5.0 average) and six touchdowns. Additionally, he caught 16 passes for 231 yards and four touchdowns. Thornton’s 10 touchdowns in 1979 were second on the team behind Franco Harris and his 12 scores.

Northwestern State inducted Thornton into the school’s N-Club Hall of Fame in 1986. Nicknamed “The Thundering Bull,” Thornton rushed for 2,662 yards from 1973-1976 at Northwestern State. To end his decorated college career, Thornton racked up 151 yards on the ground and two touchdowns in the 1976 Blue-Gray All-Star Classic.

After his career, Thornton coached football at Coushatta High School (now Red River High School) in Coushatta, Louisiana.

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