Alvin Kamara has really come into his own this season as one of the leaders on the New Orleans Saints’ roster. Sure, he’s a five-time Pro Bowler and the face of their franchise, but 2022 was the first year in which he earned a captain’s patch on his uniform. And he’s shouldered that new responsibility well in demanding greater accountability in the locker room and defending his teammates from unfair criticism in speaking with the media.
The Saints sent wide receiver Michael Thomas to injured reserve this week after resting him for five games, teeing him up for surgery on a dislocated toe that’s likely going to end his season. It’s led to troubling comments online questioning his commitment to the team and suggesting he’s tapped out after having signed a contract extension. Kamara acknowledged the frustration — this is the third year in a row Thomas has missed significant time with injury — but pushed back against the critics doubting his teammate’s motivation.
“It’s a lot of shit we’ve got to go through,” Kamara told ESPN’s Katherine Terrell, pointing out that fans don’t see the long, painful hours in the trainer’s room working on injury rehab. He added, “A player like that, that’s fighting to get back, not only for his team, but for the fans and for this city … For people to be talking shit, it’s like, ah, it hurts my soul to see that.”
Kamara said that Thomas was optimistic he’d be active for the Raiders game, having taken the team doctors’ advice to rest his injured toe and receive treatment. But the dislocated digit didn’t heal as everyone involved hoped that it would after a recent MRI scan, prompting a change of plans. Thomas is still following doctor’s orders. It’s not like he’s gone rogue again and stopped talking to the team for months.
He’s as frustrated as anyone, which Kamara has seen firsthand. More from his conversation with Terrell: “Nobody’s in here like ‘Let me get injured and not play and just get paid.’ We get paid to play obviously and we want to be available but when you can’t do it, there’s certain things you’ve got to be smart about.”
What’s next for Thomas is anyone’s guess. Things can’t continue as they have considering his contract status. There’s a very real and unfortunate possibility that he’s already caught his last pass in a Saints uniform. But if things work out to where he continues to wear black and gold, Kamara has made it clear he’ll be one of the first teammates to welcome Thomas to their locker room.