It’s been 18 months since the New Orleans Saints wide receiver appeared on an NFL field. And the pass catcher’s return to the field Wednesday was emotional.
Thomas returned to the field for the first time since 2020 due to complications surrounding an ankle injury. He participated in all practice drills except for full-team drills.
While no timetable has been offered on when the 29-year-old will be back to 100 percent, Thomas has been candid about his thoughts on getting back on the field.
Thomas told reporters that he wanted to remain level-headed and remove the emotion. However, he says his emotions caught up with him when he stepped on the field.
“Man, I’m a little lost for words”; Thomas told reporters Wednesday via ESPN. “I didn’t want to come out here and get emotional or anything. But it was a blessing to be back with the guys.”
One thing Thomas did during his recovery was talking to other athletes who had gone through something similar. He specifically mentioned Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce and Golden State Warriors star tight end Travis Kelce, among others.
“I mean, even the year I played [a total of nine games in 2020], I was injured and I was still helping this team win games and move the chains. And I was clearly on an ankle, ” Thomas said.
“I’m happy to be trending now in the right direction and running my business. And I take pride in that challenge.”
Thomas is aware that he will be and has already battled adversity. However, he’s not shying away. If anything, he’s embracing it.
“Everyone loves someone who comes back from adversity. I feel like a lot of people in this world can learn from that,” said Thomas. “It’s better to have some adversity than no adversity at all, just to show how you respond. I think it shows a lot of character, it shows the kind of man you are.
“And, I mean, I love playing soccer.”
Saints head coach Dennis Allen spoke to reporters after Wednesday’s practice and seemed impressed with his receiver’s current status.
“I thought he looked good,” Allen said. “I think we still have to be smart with him as we go through training camp. But I thought it was a good start to have him there the first day. I was excited to see No. 13 take the field.
“Listen, Mike Thomas wants to be here. He wants to help this team win games.