Billy Thompson, regarded by many as the best defensive back in Denver Broncos annals, was the only Ring of Fame inductee in 1987. He was the first player in team history to play 13 seasons with Denver, and he was the team captain for many years.
Thompson, despite being retired for 18 seasons, still ranks second on the Broncos' all-time list for games started with 178, second in consecutive starts with 142, and sixth in games played with 179. He finished his career with 61 turnovers, (most in team history), 40 of which came via interceptions (third in team history).
He holds two NFL records, one of which has stood for over two decades. As a rookie in 1969, Thompson became the only player in NFL history to lead the league in both kickoffs and punt returns in the same season. He is also one of only two players in NFL history to return four opponent fumbles for touchdowns. Thompson was a three-time Pro Bowl selection (1977, '78 and '81), and earned All-NFL honors twice (1977 and '78) and All-AFC honors four times (1977-79, '81).
Billy also enjoyed a brilliant career at Maryland State (now Maryland-Eastern Shore), earning All-CIAA honors three times as a defensive back and being named team MVP as a senior. He also twice earned NAIA All-America honors. Thompson also made All-CIAA three times in baseball as a centerfielder.