It has been 587 days since Houston Texans' wide receiver Mike Thomas last played in an NFL game, and this Saturday he is going to open up as the offense's starting slot wide receiver.
The slot wide receiver was a question mark when Head Coach Bill O’Brien arrived in Houston, and coming out of voluntary mini camp he felt there could be
some candidates for the position. The sixth year veteran made the impression to be able to handle the important position for the offense and he has not
relinquished the lead for that position.
Thomas did not pan out for the Detroit Lions after they traded a 4th round draft pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for the disgruntled player. After the
failed experiment in Detroit, he was released in August of 2013 by the Lions and sat out of football for the 2013 season. The Texans signed him to a
future/reserves contract at the end of the 2013 season. The opportunity is here for Thomas and he explained what he missed the most,
“Just playing ball. I just miss the game. Life has a funny way of teaching you lessons.” Thomas continued, “I am grateful and thankful to God for another
opportunity and just ready to go out there and play some ball.”
Thomas is returning to the state of Arizona and he is familiar with the surroundings after playing for the Arizona Wildcats and his short stint with the
Arizona Cardinals (10 days during the 2013 preseason). It is the first time the Texans will open up their new playbook and offense to start the Bill
O’Brien Era. The Texans are looking at this game as a building block for the season.
“It is a gauge for us in the first preseason game.” Thomas said, “Just kinda see where we stand as far as what we have put in as far as what we practice
Where the offense is, Thomas wants to find out. “It is hard to say but we will see. We all feel pretty good with the work we put in, but we just try to
come out here everyday and try to get better. So hopefully Saturday will be a step in the right direction.”
Thomas will be counted on to be more than just the slot receiver. He will also be called upon to contribute on special teams as a punt and kick returner.
The veteran sees it as another chance for him to be on the field. “Special teams is part of the game and it is another opportunity to touch the ball.”
His mentality on the field doesn't change when he has the ball in his hands. He has one goal and that is the opponent in front of him.
“You always want to defeat the man, the coverage or whatever is in front of you. Whether it is an offensive term or whether it is on special teams, I am
trying to win.”
The Texans have been on a slow grind during training camp and, despite being a veteran, he says the butterflies still collect in him prior to games. “I
think when that is gone, it is a problem.”
Thomas had his own thoughts on how to get ready for the preseason opener, “You definitely do not want to get over excited and blow a gasket too early. Go
out there and let the game come to you.”
It has been over a year and a half since Mike Thomas took a meaningful snap in the NFL and now he has a chance to rejuvenate his NFL career with the
Texans. The Arizona Cardinals are the first step for the Texans and now Thomas is back in the mix to make his mark.
Thomas is taking nothing for granted. "No doubt I am looking forward to it.”