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Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Dave Thomas has been selected by his teammates as the Jaguars' 1997 Ed Block Courage Award recipient. Thomas, 29, has played in every game for the Jaguars this year after missing the last seven regular-season games and the playoffs in 1996 because of a fractured left femur.

Thomas joined the Jaguars through the NFL Expansion Draft on February 15, 1995 after two seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. The former Tennessee Volunteer played in 28 games with the Cowboys and played as the nickel back for all 16 games in 1995 in the Jaguars' first season.

He began the 1996 season as the team's nickel back and moved into the starting lineup in Game 5. He started five games and had two interceptions going into the Bengals game in Week 9. At the end of the game in Cincinnati, Thomas collided with Dana Hall on an onside kick attempt and fractured his left femur. he stayed in Cincinnati for surgery the next day and was placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.

In coming back this year, Thomas has started all eight games, four at right cornerback and four at left cornerback. He recorded the third interception of his career, and first since October 13 of last season, against Washington on September 28. Against the Eagles on October 12 he blocked a punt in the first quarter to set up a Jaguars touchdown and in the third quarter he forced a fumble to set up James Stewart's fifth touchdown of the day.

Each year the Ed Block Courage Awards honor those players who exemplify commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage. Ed Block Courage Award recipients are selected by vote of their teammates. The Jaguars awarded the honor to tight end Derek Brown last year, and to defensive end Paul Frase in 1995.

All 30 of this year's Ed Block Courage Award recipients - one from each team - will be honored at a banquet in Baltimore in March. Proceeds from the event benefit abused children of The Courage House National Support Network.


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