GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – For the first time in more than 20 years, retired NFL player Bill Thompson returned to his hometown of Greenville.

“I can’t believe how much Greenville has grown,” said Thompson. “I had to get my sister to drive me around and tell me what was what because it has changed so much.”

Thompson grew up in West Greenville with his family.

“My old neighborhood doesn’t exist anymore,” he said. “I think there’s a supermarket there now.”

Thompson went to Sterling High School where he played football, baseball, and basketball.

“I played high school football here,” he said. “I was pretty decent. I wasn’t bad.”

Thompson went on to play football at Maryland State College and was later drafted by the Denver Broncos.

“I didn’t think I was that good, first of all,” said Thompson. “But, they thought I was. So I had a little talent, obviously.”

Thompson played for the Denver Broncos for 13 seasons — something he is very proud of. 

“I only missed three games in 13 years,” he said. “I played in the Super Bowl and had about 40 interceptions [during my career]. I had a tremendous career.”

Thompson retired in 1981. Although he is no longer on the field, he continues to mentor young athletes.

“I visit other football teams in high school and tell kids, ‘Playing football is great, but you have to get an education,'” he explained. “I tell them, ‘Just follow your dreams. You can do it if you hang in there, be consistent, and don’t give up.'”