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Thomas volunteering at the Bowl's Youth Football Clinic

Thomas volunteering at the Bowl's Youth Football Clinic

Nov. 19, 2013

The Fight Hunger Bowl lost a great friend with the Monday passing of 8-year NFL linebacker Thomas Howard.  A 2nd round draft choice in 2006 from Texas El Paso, he played for the Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals & Atlanta Falcons.

Thomas was killed in an automobile accident near his home in Alameda, CA.  He was just 30 years old.

Unlike many professional athletes, Thomas several years ago had begun to prepare for a life after football.   In 2010, as a member of the Raiders, he approached Fight Hunger Bowl Executive Director Gary Cavalli about getting involved with our game because "the idea of doing something in college football/bowl administration was appealing to him," Cavalli recalled.

That year's game between Nevada & Boston College was played in January of 2011, so the Raiders regular season was completed and Thomas eagerly accepted an internship as a member of the Host Committee.

There was no bowl week task too large or small that he did not want to be a part of.   Only when asked what he did for a living did Thomas admit he was a professional football player.

"To know Thomas was to like him. . . .immediately," Cavalli said.    "He made a very positive impact on the players from both teams, as well as our staff and volunteers.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all his family and friends."

In subsequent seasons, Thomas's NFL duties precluded active participation during game week.   Yet he never failed to keep in touch with bowl staff and the many `friends of the game' he'd made along the way.

His loss touches us all.