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Agent says Orlando Thomas has not died

Earlier today, the Vikings announced that former safety Orlando Thomas died, after a five-year battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Former teammate Jake Reed tweeted that it wasn’t true.

Now, Thomas’ agent confirms that, indeed, Thomas has not died.

It’s not true,” Mark Bartelstein said, per the Associated Press. “He’s still fighting as hard as ever. I don’t know anybody to fight a disease or illness the way he has fought this. He’s continuing to fight the fight and is cheering on the Vikings every day.

“Somebody put it on their Myspace page down in Crowley, La., and I guess the local media ran with it or something. You know how in today’s world once rumors start, it spreads like wildfire. You know how people communicate nowadays. But it’s totally false. He’s sick, but he’s good and and he’s fighting the battle he fights every day.”

And as the only team for which Thomas ever played prepares to play the Packers, here’s an interesting fact. As a rookie in 1995, Thomas intercepted Brett Favre in a 27-24 Vikings win that saw Favre leave the game with a sprained ankle. He was replaced first by Ty Detmer. When Detmer tore ligaments in his thumb, T.J. Rubley got the nod at quarterback.

UPDATE: The Vikings have acknowledged the erroneous report, and they have issued an apology.