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SaberCats DB Clevan Thomas Named Riddell Defensive Player of the Year

August 15, 2013 - Arena Football League (AFL) - San Jose SaberCats News Release

SAN JOSE, Calif. - The Arena Football League and the SaberCats announced today that defensive back Clevan Thomas was named the AFL's Riddell Defensive Player of the Year. This honor is in addition to already having been named the AFL's Defensive Back of the Year, as well as earning a First Team All-Arena selection. This marks the third time in his illustrious career that he has been named the Defensive Player of the Year, after bringing home the hardware in 2002 and 2003. This also marks the second consecutive season in which a member of the SaberCats defense earned this honor (defensive lineman Joe Sykes in 2012).

"We are really happy for Clevan, he is such a special player," SaberCats Owner/Head Coach Darren Arbet said regarding the league's announcement. "He is an extremely hard-worker and was never satisfied, always working to get better and improve others around him. His ability to make big plays and lead this team was a huge part of our success this past year."

Thomas (5-10, 195, Florida State) returned to action for the first time since the conclusion of the 2008 season and didn't miss a beat. The Arena Football League Hall of Fame selection set a new single-season franchise record with 15 interceptions, tying for the league lead. He was also named the team's Defensive Most Valuable Player and Most Inspirational Player for 2013 at the team's awards banquet last week. Of his 15 interceptions, Thomas returned an AFL-record six of them for touchdowns, surpassing the previous record of four by Kenny McEntyre of the Orlando Predators (2008) and Kelvin Morris of the Chicago Rush (2012).

The First Team All-Arena selection posted a total of 74.0 tackles (65 solo), recovered two fumbles and forced another. He now ranks second in AFL history to McEntyre with 65 career interceptions, and will go down as one of, if not the greatest to ever play this game. His off-field contributions were not to be overshadowed. As a team captain and leader, the former Florida State Seminole was an integral part of the success of one of the best defenses in the league and is credited by teammates for helping improve the play of others around him.

He was awarded Riddell Defensive Player of the Week honors after intercepting a pair of passes and returning one for a touchdown in Week 10 on May 25 in a win over the Utah Blaze. Thomas later earned the award again in Week 16, by recording two more interceptions, both of which he returned for scores, 27 and 53 yards, respectively against the San Antonio Talons.

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