Hard-hitting LB Thomas to announce retirement

Free agent linebacker Zach Thomas, 36, is expected to sign with the Miami Dolphins, with whom he played 12 seasons, and then announce his retirement Thursday at a 4 p.m. ET news conference. Thomas’ career in Miami ended in 2007. He signed as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys in 2008, playing one season there. He was released by the Kansas City Chiefs after the 2009 preseason.

Thomas was drafted in the fifth round by Miami in 1996 and his emergence prompted him to replace current Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio at middle linebacker. Del Rio, who was cut in preseason, went on to retire. The undersized, hard-hitting Thomas was the anchor of the Dolphins defense for 12 seasons and was among the most productive linebackers in the NFL for years before a series of concussions sidetracked his career.

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