J.T. Thomas III
August 23, 2016
Q: How you feeling? Coach says you're getting close.
A: Feeling really good. Today was great to be back on the field with the guys again. Taking it one day at a time. Just trusting Ronnie Barnes, Leigh (Weiss), Justin (Maher) has been great; Coach Wellman. They're doing everything they can to get me on the field so that I can help the team in any way possible.
Q: So you're off PUP?
A: Absolutely. If it's not official, I'm sure it will be very official soon. Anxious to get off the PUP list. I'm just excited about the season, and it was tough to just sit back and watch these first couple weeks of camp, and watch the guys compete. But, for sure, anxious and excited to be able to get back into the swing of things.
Q: What was wrong where it took that long?
A: It was a just a hamstring injury from around spring time.
Q: Was it torn?
A: It was severe enough for me to now getting back active in camp. All those things, I'm just trying to keep it all behind me and just stay focused on what's ahead. Although it can be hard at times, I'm just focused on what I can do, going forward on that field every day I can.
Q: You didn't have to have a procedure or anything?
A: No. Nothing like that.
Q: What did you have to do to get back?
A: Like I was saying, just trusting Ronnie Barnes, Leigh, Mike and all the guys. Coach McAdoo, of course, with the process of getting back. It's been one day at a time, making sure my conditioning is there. Making sure my hamstring is ready to go. I look forward to participating in the full contact tomorrow.
Q: At the start of camp, did you expect it to take this long?
A: I didn't think so, but it's been nagging, lingering a little bit. Now I'm feeling a lot better and now even focused so much on the energy. Last couple days, I've just been focusing on how I can help this team be better. This is a good ball club, and we have the potential to be great. I want to see where I can help us the most. I'm anxious to get involved in the competition. We have a great room, great coach. Coach Bill McGovern, who's been doing great for us. Trusting Spags in the process. Fortunate enough to have a defensive coordinator two years in a row. I'm just looking forward to growing in this organization and in this defensive system.
Q: Where can you help?
A: I think one of my strongest attributes is just being able to be versatile. So whether it's on defense or special teams, whatever role that I'm put into, I believe that I can thrive and be a leader. But, of course, I think that if I can help us get off the field and play less downs and help us be a better defense, that'll be great.
Q: How much catching up do you have to do?
A: Mentally, not very much. But physically, of course, just getting in shape. But the mental conditioning is there. But I had a chance to play a little football, I got a really good feel for Spags' defense. Like I said again, Coach McGovern is doing a really good job of giving us the details. So I've just been taking it all in and being patient and trying to be that leader off the field, which is really tough. But more than anything, I hate to watch the guys grind in camp and not be a part of the process. This is the time you gel and develop that chemistry, that people don't get to see in the stands. So I'm anxious to get on the field and really looking forward to it.
Q: How hard is it to be patient though?
A: It is because naturally I'm more of a vocal guy, a leader, and it's hard to be that guy in the tub. It really is. But fortunately, I'm heavy in prayer just trusting the process, and trying to keep a smile on my face, not for myself but for my teammates.
Q: Do you expect to go on Saturday?
A: I expect to, but I'll trust the process, listen to coach. I'll listen to the plan that will be set forward for me, for the week.
Q: What are your thoughts on the linebackers?
A: I think everyone brings something unique to the table. I think there is a very competitive room, and I don't think anything is in stone. I don't think anyone is in a position to be comfortable enough to say I'm the guy, because there are so many guys who can play in the room. So like I said, I look forward to competing more than anything. Making guys earn their check every week. That's what it's all about. It's the game.
Q: How much pressure did you feel to come back as you were approaching the third preseason game?
A: Well, this is my sixth season in the league. So I won't say a lot of pressure, but of course, I can't wait to get back and get in football shape because there is nothing comparable to that. It's not enough sprints you can run to be in football shape. So, of course, I'm looking forward to doing that. But pressure, no, no pressure. Just excited and anxious to compete.