The Duel

VIDEO: Remembering When Zach Thomas Destroyed a Patriots Receiver With a Massive Hit in His First NFL Game

Jason Schandl
Video of Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas destroying a Patriots wide receiver in his first NFL game in 1996.
Video of Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas destroying a Patriots wide receiver in his first NFL game in 1996. / YouTube: noahsadork
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Zach Thomas was one of the premier linebackers in the NFL for over a decade, and he's one of the best defensive players in Miami Dolphins history.

It didn't take long for him to make an impact at the NFL level, either, as he announced his presence in a big way in his first NFL game in 1996.

Making his pro debut against the division rival New England Patriots, Thomas made sure the Pats new his name right away, proving he was going to be a force to be reckoned with.

The Patriots tried a little trickery by giving it to wide receiver Shawn Jefferson while down 14 points in the fourth quarter. Thomas sniffed it out and obliterated Jefferson.

Thomas was named the AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1996, and he went on to be a seven-time Pro Bowler and five-time first-team All-Pro in Miami. As for Jefferson? Apparently there were no hard feelings, as he spent three years as the Dolphins' wide receivers coach from 2016 to 2018.


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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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