Joe Thomas was mad, but he wasn’t about to throw away two training camps with the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers had to reduce their roster by 22 players to get down to the 53-man limit on Sept. 5. Thomas, an inside linebacker, was one of the casualties.
“I was a little upset but I didn’t throw anything out because in the back of my mind, I really feel like this is where I kind of belong in a way,” Thomas said on Thursday, a few days after being signed off Dallas’ practice squad to take the place of defensive tackle Josh Boyd, who was placed on injured reserve with a broken ankle. “You can’t really get too comfortable because it’s a business.”
As an undrafted free agent in 2014, Thomas got off to a strong start but sustained a knee injury in the first preseason game. He was released with an injury settlement and brought back to the practice squad at midseason. This year, he gained momentum toward the end of training camp but fell short of a roster spot. Coach Mike McCarthy hinted that the decision on Thomas was one of the toughest of the final cuts.
“It’s a numbers game, really,” Thomas said. “It’s business. They really wanted me to be p-squad. They said be ready at any time. They still might want me or whatever. You have to move on.”
And Thomas moved onto Dallas. Two days after the Packers signed their practice squad, which included Carl Bradford at Thomas’ inside linebacker position, Thomas landed with the Cowboys. He called his two weeks in Dallas “stressful,” having to take a crash course to learn a defense that many of his teammates had been running for months.
“When I got the call to come back here, it was a sigh of relief,” Thomas said.
Rather than promoting Bradford, the Packers signed Thomas and leapfrogged him over Bradford and right onto the 53-man roster.
“It means everything to me,” he said. “I can’t really put it in words. I just want to go out and show. I’m not going to put it in words, I’m going to go out and show with actions and enthusiasm.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.