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Terrell Thomas focuses on takeaways on the field, givebacks off it

New York Giants' Terrell Thomas celebrates an interception

New York Giants' Terrell Thomas celebrates an interception during the first quarter of an NFL football game between the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS/Kathy Willens

I caught up with Terrell Thomas yesterday at the Garden State Plaza mall where he was with Justin Tuck and Michael Boley collecting toys for The Boys & Girls Clubs of Bergen County. He was just coming off of his fifth interception in the win against the Redskins, a game in which he also forced a fumble, and he had noted that his mother, Teressa Knox, had become a bit of a lucky charm for him. He’d had a pick in every game she’d been to this season.

“Obviously I got a lot of my strength and drive from her seeing what she went through to raise us,” Thomas said. “It was a struggle being in a single-parent home, but she managed to make sure I always had the things that I needed … My mom is a very giving person. She’s always smiling. It kind of rubbed off on me.”

That’s one of the reasons why Thomas was so eager to sit in the mall for two hours signing autographs until his hand cramped up to help some kids who might not have been able to have a happy holiday without that help.

“I’m blessed to be in the position I’m in,” Thomas said. “I had three surgeries in college, so there’s no way I was supposed to go in the second round and still be playing football right now. I’m blessed but I know where I came from so I just want to give back as much as I can.

The Giants took a gamble on Thomas when they drafted him in 2007, coming off their Super Bowl win. He’d undergone three shoulder surgeries in college and every team including the one that gulped hard and picked him had serious concerns about that injury history.

“It was just something that happened,” Thomas said of the injuries, which have not been an issue in his NFL career. “I thank God for it because it humbled me, it taught me a lot about life and how to overcome things and made me stronger as a person.”

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