All Americans are living a new reality these days due to the coronavirus.
NFL alumnus and former Bears kicker Bob Thomas is no exception but he also is experiencing a significant career change this month The 67-year old Thomas announced just weeks ago that he was retiring as a Justice on the Illinois Supreme Court and already has returned to private practice in Chicago.
“It was a great honor and privilege to have served on the Illinois Supreme Court as well as on the appellate and circuit courts over the past 32 years,” Judge Thomas says. “I will miss my colleagues and staff on the court, but I am ready to return to the practice of law and help clients achieve justice.”
Thomas kicked for Notre Dame in the early 1970s, including on the national championship team in 1973. He was an Academic All-America in South Bend and was drafted by the Bears. His 12-year NFL career included brief stops with the Lions (1982), Chargers (1985) and Giants (1986) but his lengthy record with the Bears makes him still the team’s fourth all-time leading scorer.
While still an active player, Thomas graduated from Loyola University School of Law. After retiring in ’86, he practiced law in the Windy City and was first elected a circuit judge two years later. (Coach Ditka may tell you it was the large fundraiser he held for Thomas in Chicago that got his former kicker the judicial post.) Thomas served on the circuit and appellate courts before being elected to the Illinois Supreme Court in 2000.
It may be coincidence, but a new biography titled “A View from Two Benches: Bob Thomas in Football and the Law” is due out this spring. We at NFL Alumni congratulate our colleague and wish him only the best in private practice at the Power Rogers law firm where he is working alongside his attorney-son Jonathan. Thanks, Bob, for being such a tremendous hard-working example for younger alumni.