Demaryius Thomas returned to practice with the New England Patriots last week, roughly eight months after suffering an Achilles injury late last season.
Though Thomas is now 31 years old and recovering from his second Achilles tear in his nine-year NFL career, he said he isn’t stressing about his game. He knows he can still turn heads in New England.
“I still can go,” Thomas said, via the Boston Herald. “I still can go. (I just have to) knock a little rust off and keep building the days.”
Thomas recorded just 677 yards and five touchdowns last season in 15 games, eight with the Denver Broncos and seven with the Texans. He tore his left Achilles in Week 16, and was then cut by Houston in February.
The Patriots signed Thomas to a one-year deal in April worth up to $6 million, clearly hoping he can still produce at the elite level he was once capable of — one that allowed him to record five-straight seasons with more than 1,000 receiving yards in Denver while helping lead the team to a Super Bowl win.
Though the process has been slow, and he knows he’s not all the way back yet, Thomas said there have been times out on the field this preseason where he feels like his old self again. Perhaps most importantly, there are no lingering issues from his injury.
“I don’t have problems with my Achilles,” Thomas said, via the Boston Herald. “It’s just reacting. I haven’t been in front of defensive guys or just going play by play in eight months. I haven’t had pads or helmets in a while.”
Thomas still has a way to go to separate himself in a crowded receiving room in New England. Julian Edelman is back again, and Josh Gordon was spotted in full pads at practice on Sunday after he was reinstated earlier this month following an indefinite suspension. Those two, along with Phillip Dorsett, N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers could leave Tom Brady with plenty of options this season.
Thomas, though, said he’s up for the challenge.
“I think it’s a challenge of me just going out and continuing to do what I’ve been doing my whole career,” Thomas said, via the Boston Herald. “It’s a tougher challenge because here, they expect more and it’s a little different than where I’ve been, but I’ll be alright.”
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