Summertime Blog Bits: Cornerback Terrell Thomas
It’s been a long, interesting year for Terrell Thomas, the talented fifth-year player out of USC who, last summer, was poised to have a breakout season until a freak accident in a preseason game resulted in a torn ACL that knocked him out of action for the 2011 season.
Thomas understandably went through a series of emotions as the reality of what happened hit him, but one thing he never lost was his faith that he would get back on the field and that he would fulfill his potential as a NFL player.
Q. When you had that accident on the field and you learned your diagnosis, what went through your mind?
A. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it. I knew the reality of everything that came with it and the timing couldn’t have been any worse.
Q. There’s never really a “good time” to be injured. Why do you say that the timing of your injury “couldn’t have been worse”?
A: I felt like I had finally started to tap into my potential as a player, physically, and mentally, and everything was set up. I was ready to explode on to the season, but God wasn’t ready for that, and that’s the biggest thing I learned from that experience. I thought I was doing everything by His plan, but it was really my plan, and how I wanted it to go. He slowed me down again and showed me His way.
Q. How difficult was it to be away from the team, especially considering you had always been there since being drafted?
A. In college, I had times when I was hurt, so I kind of knew what came with a serious injury. That process wasn’t hard for me. What was hard was knowing that I would miss the season, knowing the potential of the caliber of players, and the timing. With us going on to win the Super Bowl, a lot of people stepped up to fill a lot of holes and I wanted to be a part of that. We became a team last year — we had people that wanted to fill their roles and who weren’t selfish, and we got after it last season. I wanted to be a part of that, so that was the hardest thing for me.
Q. Did you keep up with the team while you were rehabbing out in California?
A. The main person I talked to every week was Kenny (Phillips). When he got injured, we always gave each other a recap of what happened in a game because we know what’s seen on TV isn’t always the story. He really encouraged me a lot. I also heard from Antrel (Rolle), who reached out to me a couple of times. Other than those two, I tried not to be a distraction. I wanted to get my knee right and not be worried about something that I couldn’t really do anything to help.
Q. How did you pass the time?
A. Friends and family would stop by., and I got to spend a lot of time with my daughter. That was probably the best part about it, getting to see her a lot more. I also watched a lot of film and did more reading.
Q. Did the injury change the way you train?
A. As far as my knee, yes. Working out wise, no, because I’ve worked out my whole life and have never stopped. I was working out like two days after I tore my ACL. I was determined not to get weak, to get stronger.
Q. And how did that work out for you?
A. I’m definitely a lot stronger in my upper body. My mindset was to push 100 percent and get back to the caliber of player I was last year.
Q. Are there any concerns about what you might be able to do once camp starts? Do you expect having the same role?
A. I plan on regaining my starting spot. My main thing is to return to the caliber of players that I was last year. I’m ahead of schedule in my rehab. Everything is going well, I have a positive outlook, and I am very confident in my knee, and the way I’ll return. Obviously you never know what’s going to happen, but the way I feel right now, I am without a doubt on the right track to return as the same player and to not have an off-year like how people would think about a player who was coming back from an ACL injury.
Q. You’ve always been a spiritual man. Can you share a bit about how your faith has gotten you through this challenge?
A. I’ll admit that I lost my faith when I got injured. I wasn’t mad at God. But I kind of questioned Him in a way. I just couldn’t understand how, after everything I had been through in my life, why would this happen now? I still don’t know, but He’s still teaching me, and He restored my faith and I will never lose it again. He taught me, ‘Just love Me, and work hard.’ It’s crazy because I got the Bible verse 1 Peter 5:6 tatted on me before camp which says, “Humble yourself upon God and in due time He shall exalt you.” So I kind of took that and said, ‘Wow, I kind of jinxed myself,’ but at the same time, I learned a lot from the experience.
Q. What did you learn?
A. I became a man and it taught me that I could overcome anything if I have faith and if I work at it. I’m still overcoming this injury — it’s not done at all. Bu t this experience has definitely taught me not to lose my faith in God because He definitely has a plan for my and will always be there for me.
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