"Zach Thomas has been a great player on this team for many years, and because of the type of player and the kind of person that Zach is, this was not an easy decision," GM Jeff Ireland said in a team-released statement. "In addition to his numerous accomplishments on the field, he was a leader off of it as well. We want to thank Zach for everything he has done for the Dolphins organization and the South Florida community. We all wish him the best of luck in the future."
A fifth-round pick in 1996, Thomas led the Dolphins in tackles in 10 of his 12 seasons with the team. One of the exceptions was last season when a concussion in a Week 2 loss to Dallas and a car accident sustained after the Week 7 loss to New England limited him to only five games.
"I want to thank the entire organization, especially Mr. Huizenga, for making my 12 seasons with the Dolphins as memorable as they were," Thomas said. "I also want to thank all the coaches and teammates that I've had during my career for helping me to grow both on and off the field. I have a tremendous appreciation and admiration not only for the Dolphins organization, but for the fans as well, for all of the support that they have given me. I can't thank Bill Parcells, Jeff Ireland and the rest of Dolphins management enough for handling this situation in a first-class manner. I am healthy and look forward to playing in 2008, but will always consider myself a Miami Dolphin."
Thomas ended his Dolphins career with seven Pro Bowl invitations, the most ever by a Miami defensive player. He ranks fourth in club history in starts and fifth in games played, as he opened all 168 regular season contests in which he appeared as a Dolphin.