Vinnie Rey has taken the long road in becoming a starter for this team, and what he learned from Howard helped:
“Watching how he played I just tried to imitate the things I liked how he did”, Vinny Rey said.
Howard, who passed at the young age of 30, was not only a key figure in the Bengals’ 2011 run to the playoffs, but his high character and contagious love for the game helped morph what was a toxic locker room into one of the highest-character groups of players in the NFL.
Gone were the ‘me-first’ players, and in were the ‘team-first’ guys like Howard, and his help in establishing that has helped the Bengals become one of the most stable franchises in the entire league. He also helped establish a culture of serving in the local community and seeking to help others.
This story from Bengals.com shows how much Howard loved making an impact in the community:
And his popularity extended out of the locker room, where he embraced fans and community works. Howard, a walk on at Texas-El Paso, may be best known for his program for walk-ons that were part of the Thomas Howard Foundation geared to children ages 9-13.
“His passion is to provide other walk on student athletes with financial assistance, so that they can focus on school and athletics,” says his web site, Mr53.com, peppered with pictures from his Bengals’ days and layered with Who-Dey wallpaper.
Thanks for all you’ve done for the team I root for and cover Thomas.