The offseason program began this week for the two-time Pro Bowl tight end and his new Miami Dolphins teammates, and to say he had been looking forward to starting this new chapter of his new NFL career would be an understatement.
Thomas, plain and simple, believes he’s in the right place at the right time.
“It’s kind of funny talking to friends and family and people that have been around me and known me for a long time, even they have that feeling,” Thomas said. “Everybody I’m talking to is like, ‘Man, I’m so excited that you’re down there in Miami. I can just tell from the way you’re talking, I can just tell from just your body language how important and how great it is for you to be there.’ Guys I played with in the past, I’m working out and we’re training out in L.A. and they’re like, ‘Man, how excited are you to be in Miami? We’re happy for you.’ People just are happy. I’m happy and I think the feel is good.
“Things happen the way they’re supposed to happen at the right time and I think my timing is pretty good right now.”
Thomas joined the Dolphins last month when he came over in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for a 2017 seventh-round pick.
Being reunited with Head Coach Adam Gase, his offensive coordinator with the Denver Broncos when he made the Pro Bowl in 2013 and 2014, is one reason Thomas is excited. Another is the way his body feels after he battled minor injuries during his two seasons with the Jaguars.
“This is probably the best I’ve ever felt,” said Thomas, who missed 11 games because of injuries the past two seasons. “Luckily for me, none of my injuries have been really chronic things. You’re playing a very violent sport and you’re going to have things that you have to go through, but when I talk to the doctors, I talked to the therapist and they look at some of my injury history, they always comment on how well it looks on the X-ray. I don’t have any lingering injuries that really affect me as an athlete. I’m a lot older and a lot smarter than when I came into the league, so I have better understanding of how to prepare, how to train my body, when I’m feeling good, what works for me. I think it takes so long in this league to start understanding, how do I do it on and off the field every day of the year? To be going into my seventh year, I’m in a good comfort zone.”
Thomas clearly is in a good comfort zone when it comes to the Dolphins’ offensive system because it’s what he had in Denver.
“That being the first offense that I ever really played in, it feels a lot like home,” he said. “I’ve been able to have success in it, I understand kind of what it takes to play at a high level. It’s definitely comforting for me. And then just to see the kind of athletes we have on offense, you start looking around that room and you start thinking about, visualizing those explosive plays. That visualization starts today. It starts when we all get together and start making sure that we know, hey, we have to be an offense that goes out there and puts our best effort forward every day. We’re going to start here in this classroom, we’re going to start here in these drills and then we’re going to work to be where we want to be.”
Thomas had 24 touchdown catches during his two Pro Bowl seasons in Denver when he became one of the most dangerous tight ends in the NFL.
It’s the kind of feeling he wants to recapture in Miami.
“We’ll have some fun,” Thomas said. “I’m just looking to come and add and bring what I do really well to this team. Let’s have a little fun. We’ll get after that.”