The first thing you need to know about Miami Dolphins munchkin rookie phenom Zach Thomas is that he is not dead yet.
This, however, is not due to Zach's lack of effort. At 2½ he was playing near the back tire of a pickup truck. The driver didn't see him, backed over his head, felt the bump, panicked, put it in drive and ran over him again, which, come to think of it, may account for a lot of odd things about Zach.
At nine time and again he jumped as high as he could on the family trampoline—and landed on the ground. "That was really stupid," grumbles Zach. "No wonder my knees are so bad."
At 13 he tried to navigate a flooded river on an air mattress and got swept away. Luckily his older brother, Bart, ran more than two miles downstream and pulled him out.
By the time he was 16 his family's house had burned down, and Bart had knocked him out with a right hand and hit him over the head with the side of a tennis racket.
At 19, he was in an ugly fight in....
"Don't put the fight in there," Zach says.
No fight stuff?
"No. That isn't a good example for the kids, man."
By 20 he had been 1) inside a friend's car that went out of control on a dirt road and rolled five times; 2) bounced around in his 1975 Monte Carlo while trying to back over a fire hydrant at 30 mph to see if a busted hydrant really does shoot water straight up; 3) rear-ended twice and sideswiped once in his 1992 Camaro; and 4) passed by his own left rear tire. When the last happened a second time, Zach said, "Whoa, boy! I just got to get some new lug nuts!"