By John DeShazier
The New Orleans Saints
It wasn’t much, it wasn’t full and it wasn’t a totally game-ready player but unmistakably, it was Michael Thomas.
In a limited capacity, the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2019 took to the field for the New Orleans Saints’ offseason training activity Tuesday morning, caught a few passes from quarterback Derek Carr, went through some mental reps and easily was the most noticeable on-field addition to the Saints’ workout.
Over the last three regular seasons, encompassing 50 games, Thomas only has been available to play in 10. Hounded first by an ankle and then by a toe injury, he missed the entire 2021 season and was available for the first three games last year before being sidelined.
So his presence for two days – he also caught passes from Carr on Monday, when the media did not view practice – was another positive step for the player who set the NFL single-season record with 149 catches in ’19.
“We’re going to be ready for training camp, fresh Day 1, out there with the team ready to go full speed, just like the old days and what everyone is used to,” Thomas said.
“It’s a blessing any time I get to put on the Saints uniform and get to contribute. Put on the (No.) 13 (jersey) in the black and gold. Just to come out here and be around the guys, the camaaraderie, that’s what I miss the most. Just talking ball.
“First day of school, that’s kind of what it felt like. Talking football with Derek, getting on the same page, talking to the coaches, just game planning. Just basically building that camaraderie to be able to build something special and chase something special and win a lot of games.”