An undrafted free agent out of Michigan State last year, Thomas stealthily passed all the offseason and training camp checkpoints to where, lo and behold, he drew a starting assignment on the Jets D-line for last year’s season opener against the Bengals. It was a scheme start, but nevertheless Thomas showed some of what the coaching staff liked about him with four tackles, including 1½ for loss, on 28 defensive snaps.
He played in the next two games as well. And then he disappeared.
“People don’t know that I came here with the injury,” the unassuming Thomas said of the torn labrum in his shoulder that he got in the 2015 Big Ten Championship Game. “I had to just grind it out in the Senior Bowl and the Combine, and when I got here, I had to grind it out as well. I was blessed to be able to get that far in the season, till it was just time to get it fixed.
“It really didn’t surprise me,” he said, reflecting on that start in his first game as a pro. “Just by me being a coachable guy and a humble guy and having leaders in front of me, they brought me in, took me under their wing and were teaching me everything I needed to know. I just came in here with my head down and worked hard and it showed.”
This offseason, Thomas was back, somewhat under the radar again, beginning the work all over again to retain his spot on the defensive line — which, despite the comings and goings on the team all offseason, still remains the bedrock of the D.
Where does the 6’3″, 286-pounder get his persistence from? We’d say a lot of it his from his upbringing. He hails from within…
click here to read the rest of this story