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Al Lucas

Al Lucas was an American athlete and professional football player with the NFL Carolina Panthers (2000-01), the Arena Football League's Tampa Bay Storm (2003), and the AFL Los Angeles Avengers (2004-05).

"Big Luke" was the first player in the Arena Football League's history to die during a game.

Al Lucas
Al Lucas
Biographical fast facts

Date and place of birth: September 1, 1978, Macon, Georgia, U.S.A.

Date, time, place and cause of death: April 10, 2005, at 1:28 p.m., at California Hospital Medical Center, 1401 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. (Injuries sustained in a football game)

Wife: De'Shonda Lucas

Child
Daughter: Mariah Lucas

Parents
Father: David Lucas (a Georgia State Representative)
Mother: Elaine Lucas (a Macon, Georgia City Councilwoman)

Burial site: Middle Georgia Memory Gardens, 3225 Joycliff Road, Macon, Georgia, U.S.A.

Error corrections or clarifications

A couple of sources erroneously report that Al Lucas died at the Staples Center. In point of fact, he was pronounced dead April 10th, 2005, at 1:28 p.m., after reaching the California Hospital Medical Center, at 1401 South Grand Avenue, in Los Angeles, California.

Career

Albert Lucas played football from 1996 to 1999 while at Troy State, and won the Buck Buchanan Award as the nation's top defensive player in NCAA Division I-AA his senior season. In his 43-game career at Troy State, he finished with 255 tackles.

His pro career began with a brief stint with the NFL Carolina Panthers (2000-01), and then he signed with the Arena Football League's Tampa Bay Storm (2003). June 22, 2003 he helped that team to victory over the Arizona Rattlers in the AFL's ArenaBowl XVII championship. Lucas signed a three-year contract with the AFL Los Angeles Avengers late in 2003, and played from 2004 to 2005. During his time with the Carolina Panthers he made 49.5 tackles in 20 games. In 13 games for Tampa Bay he recorded 19.5 tackles. His first season with the Avengers, he led the defensive lineman with 18.5 tackles.

In his off-time, he returned home and filled in at his old school, Northeast High School, as a substitute teacher and an assistant football coach. The 6-foot-1, 300-pound lineman was said to be a "gentle giant" off the field, a fun-loving guy and a kid at heart. He was generous with his time, often volunteering to assist kids facing poverty and hopelessness at his old high school. He also collected donations of shoes, gloves and other football gear from his fellow pro players to give to the Northeast High School Raiders' team.

Lucas had a degree in criminal justice from Troy State University in Alabama, but was planning on returning to college to get his teaching certificate once his playing career was over. He also had plans to join his brother Lenny (who was also a pro football player) in a small business, such as a gym, that they could manage together.

Al Lucas died tragically of injuries sustained in an April 10th, 2005 game against the AFL New York Dragons. His injuries resulted from a tackle during a first-quarter kickoff return at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.


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