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Raiders Solomon Thomas to Donate $8,000 Per Sack This Season

Raiders defensive tackle Solomon Thomas will donate $8,000 per sack to his non-profit, The Defensive Line Foundation, this season.

Football is more than just the sport itself.

It’s about inspiration. It’s about motivation. It’s about awareness.

For Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Solomon Thomas, he founded the nonprofit, The Defensive Line Foundation, to help bring awareness to mental health and end youth suicide. It was launched in memory of his late sister, Ella.

On Thursday, Thomas pledged to donate $8,000 per sack he makes this season to his foundation.

Now a sack means more than just a stat or a play. It’s quite literally changing.

“I want to see a better mental health world for our youth, a better mental health world for everyone,” Thomas said via Raiders.com. “To stop suicide and help anyone out there who is struggling and make sure they know they're not alone."

Thomas himself struggled when he lost his older sister to suicide in 2018. He was depressed. Thomas emphasized that professional athletes are no different than anyone else … they go through mental health issues as well.

"People look at us as professional athletes, we have our lives together; we're good,” Thomas said. “But in reality, we're human just like anyone else.

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“We go through anxiety, we go through depression, we go through grief, awkwardness, anger. Whatever it is, just to make someone feel like they're not alone, that they see someone else who they look up going through the same struggles as them, that is extremely helpful.

“The huge message we're trying to teach people is that, 'Hey, you're not alone in this fight.' It's OK to not be OK. It's OK to feel your emotions, it's OK to feel your feelings. You're feeling them for a reason."

As for Thomas’s performance on the field, he says the mind matters as much as the physical part of the game.

"I work my mental game just as much as my physical," Thomas said. "Just understanding how big your mental plays in the game and how big your mental plays in life, that's truly just helped me be able to take a breath and be present and really just become a better player and become a better person."

Thomas has 2.5 sacks after six games. His career-high is three sacks during his rookie campaign with the San Francisco 49ers.

But the message Thomas is sending is far more than sacks.

"I can relate to people," he said. "I can see my story, my sister's story, other players' stories saving lives and changing lives."

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