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Bucs’ Thomas Threatened Suicide Year Before Arrest

July 13, 1996

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) _ Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Lamar Thomas threatened to kill himself over problems with his girlfriend, went to jail and was admitted to a mental hospital last year, a newspaper reported Saturday.

Thomas, 26, was charged Wednesday with beating his pregnant fiancee, and was released a day later from Dade County Jail on $10,000 bond. He faces two counts of aggravated battery for beating Ebony Cooksey, 22, at a Fourth of July party in the Plantation, in suburban Fort Lauderdale.

But the couple was having trouble at least 15 months before the latest incident, according to The St. Petersburg Times.

Cooksey, then Thomas’ girlfriend, called Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies on April 3, 1995, after Thomas brandished a handgun and threatened to kill himself, the paper said.

Depressed over problems in the relationship, Thomas was quoted by the paper as saying, ``What’s the purpose of living? I can’t take it anymore.″

Authorities also confiscated two suicide notes. In one note addressed to his grandmother, Thomas said he had abused drugs and alcohol and engaged in crimes such as date rape and robbery, the paper said.

``I lost all respect for females. ... I had sex with them to destroy their lives,″ Thomas wrote. ``... Then I meet Ebony and I know she is my world from first sight. I promised to the High Almighty that I could have her, I would turn my life around.″

Authorities arrested Thomas, seized the handgun and admitted him to Baylife Crisis Center in Tampa, fearing he may hurt himself and others, the paper said.

Meanwhile, police say witnesses were present at the July 4 party where Thomas beat Cooksey two times in Plantation near Fort Lauderdale. Authorities refused to reveal the nature of Cooksey’s injuries.

Thomas’ attorney, Howard Weinberg, said the allegations are false and that Thomas and Cooksey plan to get married.

``Lamar and his fiancee have been together for many years and are deeply committed to each other,″ Weinberg said. ``They, like all couples, have problems from time to time, and they have learned to work them out together.″

Thomas, a Gainesville native who played for the Miami Hurricanes, has been with Tampa Bay the past three seasons. Last year, he made 10 receptions for 107 yards.

The Buccaneers have declined to comment on Thomas’ problems. He is expected to report for the team’s training camp, which begins July 21.

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