Remembering ex-JC Broderick Thompson

Former Cerritos College and National Football League star Broderick Thompson was killed on Monday when his motorcycle collided with a tractor-trailer on U.S. 95 south of Boulder City, Nevada.

Thompson, 41, who played for 12 seasons in the NFL with Dallas, San Diego, Philadelphia and Denver, was an offensive lineman.   

"This is a terrible loss," said Falcon head coach Frank Mazzotta, who coached Thompson from 1978-79. "He came here as a skinny kid who hadn't played much football and he left here a man. Broderick was also very considerate and came back frequently to watch practice and give helpful pointers. He cared a great deal about kids and his family. He will be missed by a lot of people."   

As recently as 1997 and 1998, Thompson served as the guest speaker at the Cerritos Pontiac GMC Strawberry Bowl Banquet. He is one of only two people who have been the guest speaker at the banquet more than once. In 1997, Thompson struggled at the microphone in his first speaking engagement and concluded his speech in five minutes. By the end of the banquet, he was begging Coach Mazzotta and sponsor Tobin Hood to be allowed to speak at the banquet the following year. Both agreed and Thompson did a wonderful job inspiring the players in the game to focus on education, while sharing some great stories of playing in the NFL.   

While with the Falcons, Thompson was named the team's Most Outstanding Defensive Lineman his sophomore season and was a member of Coach Mazzotta's first two seasons as head coach. After graduating from Cerritos, Thompson transferred to Kansas University, where he was an All-American selection at defensive tackle. He was moved to the offensive line when he became a professional and excelled for 12 years. He appeared in 160 career games and made 139 starts, including the last 129 games he played.


When one thinks of the consummate professional, the name Broderick Thompson invariably comes up. As a 12-year professional football player, Thompson proved week in and week out that he was one of the best offensive tackles to put on a uniform. Wherever he played, Thompson was viewed as a team leader, both on and off the gridiron. He concluded his National Football League career at the end of last season with the Denver Broncos, his fourth team. He spent two years blocking for future Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway, and his presence was felt from the moment he signed as a free agent. He immediately brought his veteran experience and stability to the Broncos offensive line, as that unit reduced the number of sacks allowed from 55 in 1994 to 26 in 1995.

Thompson played in 160 career games and made 139 starts, including starts in the last 129 games in which he played. His NFL career was preceded by two years (1983-84) in the United States Football League. Originally a rookie free agent, Thompson signed with the Dallas Cowboys, but did not adapt to being a pro offensive lineman after playing the defensive line in college. He then signed with the San Antonio Gunslingers of the USFL and was then traded to the Chicago Blitz. After signing and being released by three other USFL teams, Thompson hooked on with the Portland Breakers. He played all 18 games for the Breakers and earned All-USFL honors in 1984. He then re-signed with the Cowboys and played in 11 games, meaning Thompson played in 29 games during that calendar year. He went on to play five games with Dallas in 1986, when they won the NFC East Championship, before being released.

After a tumultuous beginning to his career, Thompson was about to embark on a solid pro career which started with his signing a contract with the San Diego Chargers. He spent the next six seasons in San Diego, in which he started every game he played in a Charger uniform. Thompson was the team's captain from 1989-1992 and helped guide them to the 1992 AFC West Championship.  He spent his first two seasons with San Diego as their starting left guard, until switching to his natural position, right tackle, the following season. On draft day before the start of the 1993 season, Thompson was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles and they immediately inserted him as their starting left tackle, a position he had never played. After starting the first 10 games, Thompson missed the remainder of the season with a left calf strain, but returned the following year to start the first 14 games of the year for the Eagles.

The Broncos, who were looking to bolster their offensive line, signed him as a free agent at the end of the 1994 season. Thompson stepped right in and helped solidify their unit, as Denver went on to win the 1996 AFC West Championship.

Thompson was named the Falcons Most Outstanding Defensive Lineman his sophomore season in 1979 and was a member of current head coach Frank Mazzotta's first two seasons at Cerritos College. He then transferred to the University of Kansas, where he earned All-Big 8 and honorable mention All-America acclaim as a senior defensive tackle. He helped guide the Jayhawks to their first winning season in five years, and made an appearance in the Hall of Fame Bowl.

Currently, Broderick and his wife, Rhonda reside in San Diego. Thompson is a part owner in both a restaurant and a monthly sports newspaper, which operates in four metropolitan areas: San Diego, Phoenix, San Francisco and Orange County. It covers just about every sport from little league to the major leagues in each particular area. He is still very active in charities, as he gives his time to the Untied Negro College Fund, San Diego Children's Hospital, MADD and the San Diego Juvenile Hall. In his spare time, he enjoys Harley-Davidson motorcycles, automobiles, auto racing and athletics, especially basketball and weightlifting.

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