Tommy Thompson started his football career with Woodbridge High School in New Jersey where he made All-State. He is considered by many as one of the greatest linemen ever to play for the Indians of William & Mary in Williamsburg. Thompson was named the Virginia Collegiate All State Center in 1946 to 1947 and again in 1948. He was named to the All Southern Conference football squad from 1947 to 1948. In 1948, he was recognized for his ability by being named to the All America Squad during his senior year at William & Mary.
Thompson began his professional football career with the Cleveland Browns in 1949. He played five years with the Browns, who won the 1953 National Football League title, with an eleven and one record. The Western champions, Detroit, in the playoffs, defeated the Browns, who represented the Eastern Division, for the World Championship by one point 17-16.
Both the Associated Press and the United Press named Tommy on the 1953 All League Team as defensive linebacker. He was named All Pro Linebacker in the National Football League in 1952 and 1953; he was team captain both years.