Troy Trojans (USA Today Sports)
Freddie Thomas arrived at Troy as a walk-on and worked his way into becoming a two-time All-American. As a senior, Thomas suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder, but he played through it and the Trojans went on to win the 1987 Division II national championship.
It had been 27 years since Thomas had seen his 1987 Division II national championship ring. He lost it in a swimming pool in Lakeland, Florida soon after the season at the wedding of a teammate. He thought he would never see it again -- until it was recently returned.
Speaking to Wave-3, an NBC affiliate in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas reminisced about what his time at Troy meant and what the ring signifies.
“A lot of memories right on this field. Some of my closest friends, I met here at Troy. Every time you walk into this stadium and see those banners up there we had a part of that,” Thomas said.
Over a decade had passed since he lost the ring, when he received a phone call in 2003. Someone had found his ring and said she would send him his ring, but it wasn’t meant to be quite yet. The ring was accidentally put into a moving box and shipped to Southern Indiana. Thomas’ hopes that he’d have the ring returned again were crushed.
Fast forward ten years later, and the woman found the ring in her attic and enlisted WAVE 3 in Louisville, Kentucky to get the ring into Thomas’ hands. Thomas was tracked down in Birmingham and the ring was finally returned to its rightful owner.
The memories of that 1987 season crept back for Thomas, who teared up as he put the ring on his finger for the first time since over 25 years.
“It means a lot. I will always remember the guys that played on those teams,” Thomas said.
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