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Many Pay Respect to Derrick Thomas

February 18, 2000

MIAMI (AP) _ Friends and family in Derrick Thomas’ hometown paid their respects Friday during a visitation for the former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker.

Thomas died Feb. 8 at age 33, a little more than two weeks after he was paralyzed in a car wreck.

``We’re just glad to know that people knew the things about Derrick that we did,″ an uncle, Ralph Adams, said. ``He made it, and he wanted every kid in the neighborhood to have a chance to make it, too.″

Since his body was returned to Miami on Thursday, hundreds have paid their respects to Thomas, who was active in charity work.

``I’ll remember him most for his contributions and commitment to the youth,″ said Lee Fudge, a counselor at the Optimist Club where Thomas learned to play football. ``You could tell even at an early age that he was a leader. In fact, the police used to ask him to talk to the gangsters because they couldn’t do it.″

Thomas’ funeral is scheduled Saturday.

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