DeVries' high school coach murdered
ALLEN PARK Before Wednesdays Lions morning practice was over, Jared DeVries was pulled aside and given the bad news that his high school coach had been shot and killed just hours earlier.
DeVries, who grew up in Iowa, appeared to be holding his side walking off the field, but there was no injury just hurt.
According to the Associated Press, Aplington-Parkersburg (Iowa) High School football coach Ed Thomas was shot in the schools weight room with several students watching. A 24-year-old former student has been charged with first-degree murder.
Aside from my own father and mother, no one had a more profound impact on my life than Coach Thomas. He truly was like a second father to me and to the hundreds of players from our community he coached over the years, DeVries said in a statement released late Wednesday afternoon.
A part of him has been with me through my college and NFL careers and that will never change. I will never forget Coach Thomas. Heaven just got a great football coach and an even better man, DeVries added.
Thomas, 58, was the 2005 NFL coach of the year.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz said theres a special bond between a high school football player and his coach. DeVries will get his full support in handling his grief.
Three other of Thomas players are in the NFL: Green Bays Aaron Kampman, Jacksonvilles Brad Meester and Denvers Casey Wiegmann.
Aaron, Brad, Casey and I were so proud when he was named the NFLs High School Coach of the Year in 2005. He truly epitomized everything that is good about high school football and all the things it can teach young men, DeVries said.
DeVries practiced with the Lions during the afternoon session, but opted to release a statement rather than talk to the media.