Sidney Thornton, a valued member of two Super Bowl-winning teams for the Steelers, has died, the team announced on Wednesday evening. Thorton was 68 years old.
Selected by the Steelers in the second round of the 1977 NFL Draft, Thornton was brought to Pittsburgh to help supplement veteran running backs Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier. Thornton thrived in that role while helping the Steelers win their third Super Bowl of the decade at the end of the 1978 season.
With Harris struggling with an injury early in the season, Thornton played an increased role in the Steelers offense in 1979. He set career highs in rushing yards and touchdowns averaging 5 yards per race. Tronton scored 10 total touchdowns this season while helping the Steelers win a sixth straight division title.
Against Miami in the Divisional Round, Thornton gained 86 total yards while scoring his first career playoff touchdown. He caught a 22-yard pass in Super Bowl XIV as the Steelers beat the Rams to win the franchise’s fourth Lombardi Trophy.
Physical back, Thornton played his entire six-year career with the Steelers. He scored 25 touchdowns (including the playoffs) during that span averaging 4.2 yards per carry.
A native of New Orleans, Thornton played college football at Northwestern State, where in 1986 he was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame.