THUMB THINGS TO PONDER

This being Thanksgiving and all, I'm going to refrain from name-calling, insults and other regularly scheduled negativity, including the issuance of thumbs downs, which usually is my favorite part of writing this column. Today though, for one day only, I'm gonna be Mr. Positive:

Thumbs Up

To Vikings safety Madieu Williams who made a $2 million endowment to his alma mater, the University of Maryland, earlier this month to establish the Center for Global Health Initiatives. The center will focus on improving the quality of health care for underprivileged people in Prince Georges County outside of Washington, and in the West African nation of Sierra Leone, where Williams was born and spent much of his childhood. Williams said his late mother, Abigail Butscher, a nurse who died 4 years ago, was the inspiration for his generous gift.

"I realized a vision of what my mom would have liked to do," Williams told the Washington Post. "She would have liked this."

A good many professional athletes have charities that raise money for worthy causes. But not many are willing to take $2 million out of their own pocket to get it off the ground.

Thumbs Up

To Chiefs linebacker Andy Studebaker, who intercepted two passes, including one that he returned 94 yards, in his first NFL start last week, a 27-24 overtime win over the Steelers. You may recall that Studebaker was selected in the sixth round of the 2008 draft by the Eagles. A standout defensive end at Division III Wheaton (Illinois) College, the Eagles converted him to linebacker and put him on their practice squad last year while he made the transition to his new position. Practice-squad players are technically free agents, though, and the Chiefs ended up stealing him away.

"You get a guy like Andy Studebaker, who I said all offseason there was nobody better," Chiefs coach Todd Haley said. "Then to see it translate into some of the things the kid did out there . . . "

- Paul Domowitch