Cajun great dies after battle with ALS
Orlando Thomas had battled ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) for several years and celebrated his 42nd birthday about two weeks ago.
Mark Bartelstein, Thomas’ agent, said Thomas was 6-foot-1, 225 pounds when he played in the NFL, but weighed approximately 70 pounds when he died.
Thomas attended Crowley High School and led the Gents to the Class 3A State Championship in 1989. He then went to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to earn All-American status, and he led the Cajuns to consecutive Big West Championships in 1993 and ‘94.
Thomas ended his Cajuns career as UL Lafayette’s all-time leading tackler among defensive backs and second overall in tackles.
After leaving UL Lafayette, Thomas was drafted in the second round of the 1995 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He started 87 of 98 games for the Vikings and led the NFL in interceptions (9) during his rookie season and was named an NFL All-Pro that season.
Thomas retired from Minnesota in 2001. In 2007, Thomas revealed he was suffering from ALS.