Friday, July 10, 2009

Donald Thomas - Getting Ready for 2009

The following is an article by Desmond Conner of the Hartford Courant. It was written for Connecticut fans, but the relevance to Dolphins fans right now is significant so I'm posting it in its entirety for us.

Former Husky Donald Thomas Ready To Resume His Rise

Eager To Please At Dolphins Camp

The key to another magic carpet ride is in the ignition. And Donald Thomas, the former UConn and current Miami Dolphins guard, is ready to turn it over.

"I plan on being ready to go this year," Thomas said by phone from Miami this week.

A foot injury at the beginning of last season forced the ride to stall, abruptly ending his rookie season and what had become an almost fairy-tale ascension in his short football career.

"The big story isn't what I did to get to this point," Thomas said. "I know it's a crazy story, a great story, but I don't even think about it anymore. I think about: Where do I go from here? I don't want people to count me out."

Given the 6-foot-4, 310-pound West Haven High graduate's background, the latter isn't likely to happen. Thomas walked on at UConn and worked his tail off to become a starter in 2007 and an All- Big East first-team pick. His strength and high learning curve made him a sixth-round pick of the Dolphins. General manager Bill Parcells called him a godsend because of the raw tools he possessed, and the rookie was named a starter at right guard on the third day of training camp.

But he broke a foot on a special teams play in the second quarter against the Jets in the season opener.

And it got worse. Dolphins coach Tony Sparano reported in May that Thomas sustained a torn pectoral muscle while lifting weights as he worked to recuperate from the foot injury.

"I'm focusing on being ready to go for the season," said Thomas, who didn't participate in the organized team activities (OTAs) a few weeks ago. "But I'm on the outside looking in again, and I don't like this, so I'm doing everything I can to get back on the field and play to my potential."

Still, it's going to require plenty of work for Thomas to regain full strength.

"That's the thing you'll never have to worry about with Donald Thomas," UConn coach Randy Edsall said. "One of the reasons why he was so successful here and landed in the situation he did with the Dolphins is because he was a natural when it came to doing the things he needed to do to be the best. You can be sure he'll do everything he can to get himself ready to go again."

Although he couldn't participate in the OTAs, he attended and studied them to help refresh his memory on certain plays. He couldn't compete, but he grilled the coaches and veterans to become more knowledgeable about his place in the game.

"And you're already talking about a guy who has a high learning curve," said Thomas' agent, Rocky Hill native Ed Wasielewski, president of EMG Sports Management and whose clients include former Huskies Danny Lansanah and Dahna Deleston. "Not to mention he's a guy who already goes about everything like a professional on and off the season."

After the OTAs, Thomas incorporated rigorous training to his daily regimen, arriving at the Dolphins training facility at 7:30 a.m. There's some hot tub time, stretching, running, weightlifting and film study.

"This has become a game I really love," Thomas said. "You want to be true to what you love ... when it's taken away from you, and it's your job, too. It's tough, but I'm looking ahead and right now I'm trying to maintain being in shape, staying with the program and keeping up on my plays; basically getting my mind right."

Dolphins training camp opens Aug. 2. Thomas, 23, says he doesn't know if he'll be ready, but that's the goal. Thomas is under contract for $1.72 million for four years. He said the game against Indianapolis Sept 21, featuring the Colts' first-round pick and former UConn back Donald Brown, and the game against the Patriots Dec. 6, featuring Darius Butler, are prime-time home games for him.

"Donald won't talk, but Darius will be talking trash," Thomas joked. "I can't wait because I'll be talking smack right back to him — all game."


  1. DT/de's nightmare!!
    Wonder what happens when a healthy DT,and Soliai go head-to-head??
    Too bad he's not likely to room w'BLondon,grab him by his ears and force him to love football,and not himself..BLs pissing me off!!

    GO DT!!

  2. Home SuperBowl 2010July 11, 2009 at 5:16 AM

    DT will be key to Fins running game
    Hope he can get back to full strength
    Know he is in animal training in all other aspects
    just needs special care to pec like healthy woman with beer carton on her head

  3. Note the photo above shows current Miami O-line coach Dave DeGuglielmo working out DT while he was still with the NY Giants.

  4. Damn, when I started reading the article I thought DT was going to say he was 100% ready for TC. Still good to here about how hard he works, he seems like a true profesional

    ps Thats a good picture of Googly up there

  5. My only worry about D. Thomas right now is his dogged determination driving him to over-do things and either reinjure something or create a new injury in the process.

    When people are driven to succeed and use hard work as their vehicle for success...things like "taking it easy" or "50% effort" (all common instructions in PT) are hard to comply with...His torn pectoral is prime example that he'll work until his body fails. I just want him to STOP working til his body heals at this point...(obviously he can do a lot of rehab work and mental reps and modified stuff...but he needs to not be a hero while recovering).

  6. The Knight who says Ni!July 11, 2009 at 11:57 AM

    Good article, Tin.

    Thomas looks like a beast in that photo. I mean look at the size his arms. The players on the DL say he's the toughest guy to move just like the guys on the OL say Soliai is the toughest to move on the other side.

    Thomas just has to get healthy and I feel this guy is going to be a stud and the final piece to the starting 5. I can't believe we finally have a starting 5 who all have pro bowl potential. It's been a long time coming.

    I know some are going to say let's not get ahead of ourselves with Thomas but the scouting report on Thomas is he has elite ability he was just lacking experience. Based on his work ethic and his approach to the game is why I have high hopes for him.

  7. He was a probowler last season, you need not make apologies, I've no doubt whatsoever we made the absolutely best pick possible with our number one overall.

  8. ...i've come to respect Omar's take on the OL ...and according to him, DT was the best OL out of TC last year ...including Long THAT is saying something ...and explains why Sparano is so set on getting DT into the game. if Carey actually plays this year rather than dogging it like he did last year, Ni could be right about an all pro-bowl OL ...and if he is, get ready to watch R/R run ...I'm old enough to remember the last time we had a great OL to run behind ...all the way to the perfect season ...and then some.

    NFLN 4,and 11:30pm 08 FINS @ the grnblob divisional CHAMPIONSHP VICTORY!!

    I have it taped,but wanted whoever's got nuttin going on today to be reminded of the thrill...

    KNIGHT,didya PPV UFC lastnght??
    Who the F is gonna fight/beat that beast??
    Brock Lesner shouldn't have flipped off the fans though!!
    I doubt Dana White will be OK w'that,and likely wants a new CHAMP to be the heavyweight represenative ALREADY..

    WAY TO GO Dan Henderson,USA,USA,USA!!
    Sorry UK,I used to like MBisbing until he was the UK coach on ultimate fighter,and displayed his true side..


  10. Fot those that missed it,
    DHenderson made Bisbing lie STIFF in the ring unconcious for a good 5 mins!! Knocking him out while standing,and then diving onto his laid-out face w'a forearm that had his entire body weight behind it,planting him into the floor!!
    He's gonna be talking funnier in about 6 mnths..


  11. Who the F?

    Exactly...Fedor Emelianko (sp)...I can't wait til UFC signs this guy and he and Lesnar can go toe to toe.

    The real question is: Who is going to EVER challenge GSP? Unless he steps up in weight I just don't see a legit fight for him out there.

  12. Hey JahnDoe, what's happening Bro??

    Yea,I hear'ya on GSP,but didn't want to give the K-nook props..
    Seemed like Alves was worked from cuttin weight,he was listless from the 1st bell,and through-out,(NOT his style)...

    I wanna see Anderson Silva vs GSP,and believe that's an inevitability,unless Forrest pulls-out an unlikely W..

    I was thinking who w'in the current UFC!!
    Fedor(should he sign) vs Brock, WOWWWWWWWWWW!!

    Like I said DWhite probably ALREADY want's a different type personality as his heavyweight spokesman,so Fedor's definately a possibility..

    So,I'm guessing you got thru the fire unharmed..
    Are thing's back to normal ??

    Good to hear from'ya,take it easy,L8s!!  3 more weeks,GOFINS!!

  13. Silva/GSP of course would include your some-one steppin up or down in weight class point!!