INDIANAPOLIS – As rookie
Many veterans, who had been given the day off from head coach Chuck Pagano, were well on their way to a 34-day break from team activities.
Yet as the young Colts players made their way towards the showers following the third day of minicamp, seven-year offensive guard
That’s been the life of Thomas for the past six months.
His time on the field comes in a rehab state, meaning his 2014 offseason will be spent in the 317.
“I’ll be having vacation in Carmel and on 56th street,” Thomas says with a laugh.
“That’s where I’ll be but it comes with the territory. I’ve got to get back right. I’ve got to be ready to go come July 23rd so that’s what I’m focused on. I’ll relax a little bit but my weekdays, I’ll be working.”
Thomas was a key 2013 free agent addition, thought to bolster the interior of the Colts offensive line.
The move to Indianapolis was supposed to be the chance for Thomas to begin a string of seasons as a full-time starter.
That came to a screeching halt on the second series of a Week Two matchup with Miami.
First came a torn bicep. If that wasn’t enough, a torn quad a few plays later ended Thomas’ 2013 season.
Rehabbing two serious injuries has been strenuous for Thomas, especially having to be a spectator during the Colts offseason program.
“It’s very tough,” Thomas says, “because you want to be out there and I kind of feel like, ‘I wish I could get this rep because I really want to run this play against this look on the defense.’
“Right now the only thing I can do is get mental reps, stay focused, stay in tune with each play, try to hear the calls, imagine what I would do on this play.”
The weight room is where Thomas has gotten similar work to his teammates and they, along with Colts GM Ryan Grigson, have taken notice.
“His lower body lifts are significantly better than they were a year ago,” Grigson says of Thomas. “I thought he had to really improve his lower body strength, but he’s so strong up top. He just relies on that probably too much.
“In the style of offense we run and the things we’re going to ask him to do, he’s got to really have that lower chassis strong and powerful and working and obviously fully healed because it’s a significant injury that he had.”
In almost every offseason media session Grigson and Pagano have had to field questions on when injured players will return to the field.
Thomas doesn’t want to jump to any conclusions on when he will be back on the playing field, but the arrow is definitely pointing in the right direction.
“I’ll say I feel good,” he says.
“This is the best I’ve felt in the last eight months and that’s all you can ask for. I truly feel that come training camp I’ll be ready to roll.”