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Thomas honored by Ravens Nest 12

April 07, 2003|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

Three years ago, Rob Burnett won the first Tri-State Ravens Nest 12 Lineman of the Year award.

On Saturday, Adalius Thomas was honored as the winner of the award as the organization held its fourth annual awards banquet.

The extension of Burnett's abilities has rubbed off on Thomas, who was a sixth-round draft choice of the Baltimore Ravens out of Southern Mississippi in 2000.

At 6-2, 270 pounds, Thomas has spent his time on defense between end and linebacker, pending the schemes of defensive line coach Rex Ryan, who was the featured speaker at the banquet.

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"Rob has taught me a lot in the NFL," Thomas said prior to receiving his award. "I learned the techniques of pro play, which are so different than in college. He has been important to me."

Thomas recorded 68 tackles, including 38 solo stops, along with three sacks and a pair of interceptions for the Ravens last year.

His playing time has greatly increased since his initial season, which was Baltimore's Super bowl campaign of 2001 when he was learning the ropes.

"I was used sparingly," Thomas said. "Going into the season I was on the bubble of the 53-man roster. I was back and forth on the inactive list."

However, Thomas got a Super Bowl ring and thinks the Ravens aren't that far away from contending again.

"Ray (Lewis) will be healthy, we've picked up Corey Fuller in the defensive backfield and there's some word about (linebacker) Jamir Miller," Thomas said. "That would really shore us up."

Thomas, who is married with a four year-old son, thought the loss of Lewis (shoulder injury) in mid-season forced the Ravens into different schemes that took time to become an adhesive unit.

"Ray is the leader defensively," Thomas said. "He's the best I've ever been around. We had to make a lot of adjustments and everyone on defense began to step up."

Coming up on the final year of his contract as a restricted player, Thomas hopes to iron out a new pact that will keep him a Raven.

"I'd like to stay in Baltimore," he said. "The stadium is great and the fans are great. But business is business and we'll see what happens."

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