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Thursday, August 02, 2007

No rest for Zach Thomas

Spent a couple of minutes with Zach Thomas today and we got around to talking about guys taking time off from training camp to save their bodies.

Keith Traylor practices only once a day. And today, Az-Zahir Hakim took the morning off in what coach Cam Cameron said was an attempt to rest the veteran.

So I asked Thomas, who is about to start his 12th NFL season why he doesn't take a practice off here and there to save himself for later in the season.

He looked at me like I was from Mars.

"I'm not going to do that," Thomas said. "Right now, more than anything I need the work because I'm still rusty. I need to get ready for the season so I got to be in there."

But, but, but what about keeping the legs fresh?

"Nobody knows if that works or not," Thomas said. "A few years ago people said we worked too hard in camp and that's the reason we would fade late. But we're working like the Chargers did last year and they seemed to stay pretty fresh all season. Who knows."

The point that struck me most is that in an age when many players don't want to be a part of camp as they age (remember Dan Wilkinson?) and some players are more worried about the numbers in their check book than the mark they leave on the history book (Michael Strahan), Thomas is truly a throwback.

He wants to be the best. And works -- hard -- to get there.

Your thoughts?

28 Comments:

Anonymous ceed said...

who's this zach thomas guy? lets hear about culpepper that's why we read these things. in all seriousness zach is definitely the definition of the word exception. an "undersized" linebacker who proved everybody wrong and does so every season. i wouldn't be shocked to see him record 200 tackles this year. it sounds ridiculous but he wasn't that far off. anyways he is the type of guy that work his ass off all year round to be ready because he wants to be the best. i just hope he doesn't get frustrated and retire before we can get him that superbowl because more than anybody he deserves it.

10:55 PM  
Anonymous John Michaels said...

You have to love Zach's attitude. Even after 12 seasons he still works extremely hard, trying to make himself that much better, each and everyday. He led the league in tackles in last year, but he thinks he can do better than that. I love that attitude!!! Two of our rookie linebackers, Abe Wright and Kelvin Smith can learn a lot from a guy like Zach. Zach is a Hall of Fame LB (Yeah, I said it), and every year he just continues to amaze me.

You know, it's funny. For the past four, maybe five years. Everybody was saying: "Zach is going to slow down", "Zach is going to show is age this year", etc. Yet, look what happens. Zach goes out there every season busts his ass, and shows everybody that he still has what it takes to be one of the NFL's elite linebackers. He's like the Energizr Bunny, he just keeps going, going, going, going...... He's just non-stop, balls to the wall, play till the whistle, kind of guy. As Dolphins fans, we were all saddened that when Marino retired, that the team was unable to help him get a Super Bowl ring.

Honestly, I would be just as sad if the team was unable to get Zach a ring. I would love for Zach to have that "Jerome Bettis" moment where the final game of his professional career, is the game where Zach hoists the Lombardi trophy above his head. I want too see Zach hoist the trophy as high as his arms will allow, with a grin that's ear to ear, and knowing deep inside, that his loyalty, and his devotion to the Miami Dolphins was all worth it. Zach is one of the most, if the most UNSELFISH player on the Miami Dolphins roster. Whenever Zach was asked to restructure his contract, he did it. No questions asked. He did it because he felt that if it could make the team better, it was worth it.

I hope that Zach does get his Super Bowl moment. Because, it would be an absolute shame if Zach's career went without a ring. For a man that works so hard, for a man that is so unselfish, that man DESERVES to go out on top! I pray that Zach's moment will come soon.

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zach is the MAN!! Go #54!!!

3:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zach is not just a great football player but a decent person off field as well. Last year after the Thanksgiving game in Detroit, Zach noticed the sign my niece made for me "Just back from Iraq". He sent his game jersey over to me. It's the first and only piece of sports memorabilia that I have. As a veteran, I take notice of celebrities who contribute time to recognizing servicemembers. There were pictures of Zach and Jason Taylor in Iraq on a USO tour. Great men do great things on and off the field. Let's hope Cam can turn this team around and have a decent year.

5:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ZT plays with passion and a joy no one can match. I saw him during a raider pregame in oakland go over to the heart of the weirdo section and start talking to them, gettin them all fired up. He did it for fun, his and theirs, because they loved the game as much as he did.

I want him to have a ring even more than Marino. How about you?

7:52 AM  
Anonymous Fantus said...

I don't know about wanting Zach to have a ring more than Marino. Marino was unselfish too, and took a pay cut so Shula could get more players. But, yeah, I want Zach and JT to get a ring. They've been the face of the franchise for years. I think that makes the Cam hiring a good thing, cause the defense is there. We need an offense to get some points on the board. Cameron is a guy who can do that. I don't hold out much hope this season. First year offenses are usually way behind the defenses, and our O-Line is still very suspect. I see us getting better as the year goes on, and finishing strong. I just hope JT and ZT stick around for 2008, cause I think thats when all the work this season will pay off.

Just one story about Zach before I go. My brother had a tour of the Dolphins facility one year, including the locker room. Zach was there, covered with only a towel. My brother was so excited, and asked "Can I take a picture?" Zach told him to wait until he got changed. As soon as Zach left, he realized that Zach is a jokester and wouldn't be back. If he wasn't so excited, he would've just took the picture.

8:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that I want Zach to get a Super Bowl ring too, but it won't make or break his career. All these things people are saying about him right now is what we will remember and think about whenever we hear Zach Thomas....a Super Bowl ring wouldn't be much more than a cherry on top. Zach can look back, no matter what, and know that he did everything as best as he could.

8:04 AM  
Blogger Rod said...

I pray for a ring for Zach and JT. These guys have given everything and continue to produce when they're supposed to be falling apart. Without a ring, I just can't see these guys, who I believe deserve it, getting into the Hall of Fame. I mean, MARINO had detractors because of no ring and he basically owned the record books. If he had an issue at all, I can just see these two greats being passed over. I hope that I'm wrong, but mostly hope they get that ring so I don't have to think about it as much. GO FINS!!

8:48 AM  
Blogger Herbert said...

Armando,

Thank you for taking the time to speak to one of the guys, who along with Jason Taylor, is the heart and soul of the Miami defense. Here's a guy who couldn't have easily jumped ship and moved on to another team in order to get a super bowl ring. No, he remains loyal to the aqua and orange for 12 years. Zach Thomas is a workhorse....he's ALWAYS around the play. He's a sparkplug...a pit bull...tenacious. He's what embodies being a team player. It will be interesting to see how the Fins mgmt handle what will be the twilight of his career over the next 2-3 years. Hopefully they won't pull a Seau on him. I also hope Zach doesn't "hang" on too long either. I want him to get his ring, but only if he can continue to contribute at the level we're used to seeing him at.

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ESPN.com did a piece on the 50 most likely hall of famers and Zach wasn't on the list. I get that they wanted to include some very young guys (AJ Hawk???) but (and this might be biased) what's Urlacher got that Thomas ain't got (besides a SB appearance)?

9:12 AM  
Blogger lacesoutdan said...

Zack Thomas > Brian Urlacher. As a matter of fact, Urlacher is the most overrated player in the NFL and Zack is the most underrated. Zack is also hands down the toughest player in the league. Dude gets the piss beat out of him every game because he throws himself around with total disregard for his body like no one I have ever seen. Between Zack and Marino, I honestly can't decide who my favorite player ever is.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous tommy a. said...

Zach Thomas is no throwback player.
SORRY guys.
He admits that he stopped hitting so hard early in his career to save his body.
No throwback would do that.
In fact, he better save himself because he's so little for the position he plays that if he doesnt try to save his body then he's going to fade at the end of the season like he does every year.
If he were a throwback then his career would have been over four years ago, he'd be walking with a permanent limp, and would probably be suffering from mental issues due to multiple concussions.
Thats because he's a little guy in a league full of huge beasts.

9:40 AM  
Blogger j dizzle said...

He didn't fade last year!!!That guy had 165 tackeles and has averaged at least 150 every year since being drafted!!! He may not hit hard but he still make the plays that count!! And he is in a league of giants thats what makes him a throwback player. There will never be another Zach T. 5'11 228lbs of pure beast!! He even stayed healthy all last season!!!

11:13 AM  
Blogger lacesoutdan said...

Zack fades at the end of the year? Boy are you stupid. He had TWENTY-ONE TACKLES in Week 15 last season, then 9 in Week 16 and 12 in Week 17. That was by far the most tackles in the NFL for the last 3 weeks of last year.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous rockytop@UT said...

Armando, you are the man. thanks for the updates.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous the real deal said...

You know, I saw that list at ESPN about "50 most likely Hall of Famers" and it is a goddamn travesty that Zach is not even on that list!!!!!! Even after 12 seasons of spectacular play, Zach still doesn't get the credit he deserves.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I only own one Dolphin jersey... #54. Nuff said

12:49 PM  
Blogger Duende said...

#54 represents all that is good in this sport. There seriously isnt a player in this league I adimire more (I might be a little biased)lol.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zach may not get that ring unless the O really turns it on next year and if somehow the Pat's falter. Everybody wants success, and success in the NFL, which is a team sport, is a SB win. But success is also in the joy and fulfilment of work itself. By that measure Zach will be very satisfied at the end of his career.

2:44 PM  
Blogger j dizzle said...

Armando

We need some controversy, this blog is dead!!! Everybody being all nice and stuff!!! Give us something to debate, we all love ZT and he'll be in the hall of fame when its all said and done!!! Now back to the cut throat topics on the Dolphins!!! But please don't mention DC!!!

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ESPN who???? i watch the NFL network. zach, hands down should be top 10 line backer

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Madygirl99 said...

I read through everyone's comments. Interesting how only a few were negative. I understand the need for debate, we are afterall in America! Land of the free and home of the debate :) I too have watched Zach for years. I went to school with him at Texas Tech University where I saw him play with just as much heart as he does now. I am proud to say I am a fan of his. My father and I both are Dolphins's fans, though we are both from Dallas. The point is...I don't think he will get frustrated. ZT isn't that type of person. He will go out on the field and churn out tackles for as long as his body lets him. He will go out with dignity and with records of his own. Go Dolphins!

1:11 PM  
Anonymous BK said...

ZT isn't on the Hall of Fame List because he disappears when it counts. In every important game, when the team needs him to make plays, he doesn't do it. Several years ago against the Rams, he was no where. In the playoffs against the Ravens...nothing; most games against the Patriots and Jets...nada. Kevin Mawae owned him for years.
And after every one of those games, he has a melt down tirade in the looker room. Simply, he's never taken over a game and won it the way Taylor has and especially the way Marino did.

8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bk...you didn't read all the post did you? I'm thinking you missed lacesoutdan's post mentioning the fact that he had 21, 9, and 12 tackles the last three weeks of the season against Buf, NYJ, and the "all mightly" IND respectively. If you want to include HE he had 7 the week before that against them.
Seriously, Zach Thomas isn't on those list not because he is small, but because he is humble as a person. While leading the NFL in tackles when asked if he was upset about the fact he wasn't a starter for the Pro Bowl last season he said, "“Please, not at all. Just to make it..." He always takes the spotlight off himself. Yet he consistantly puts up the best numbers in the league.
Not to take away from JT. They are both Hall of Fame players.

10:02 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

Whoever this guys is must be a Jets fan; (tommy a. said...

Zach Thomas is no throwback player.
SORRY guys.
He admits that he stopped hitting so hard early in his career to save his body.)

I'm pretty sure it was only about 2 seasons ago when Jet wide receiver Laveranues Coles was temporarily knocked out of the game in the second quarter when Miami linebacker Zach Thomas hit him with a crushing shot to the head while Coles tried to make a catch. "I'll tell you what," Coles told the reporter, "I'll put you at the back of my truck and run you over and I'll come back a couple of days later and ask you if there are any lingering effects and I'll see what you tell me."

So much for letting up to lengthen your career. By the way, everyone who saw the hit, except for the cry baby jets fans thought it was a clean hit, despite the personal foul called on the play. Zach doesn't just tackle, he runs though people.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Ron Bridges said...

DearMr. Thomas:
I grew up in Ft. Laudereale in the early 70's. I played football for Stranahan High School. I joined the Air Force and served my county for over tweny years. I live Niceville Florida, this is located near Destin Florida. I have a friend who has watched the Dolphins for the last 10 years with me on every Sunday. We make a trip down to watch one game a year. My dear friend is John Delannne and he is dying of Lung Cancer, he has one last football year to live. He has a only son of 16 years old. He is a Oakland Raider fan but we are passionate Dolphin fans for too long to count.
John wants to take his son and myself to watch this last game.I hate to have to drive all the way from the Panhandle to watch this game but he wants me to do it. I will. Zack, this is not a con, I will be glad to supply you with any documentaion regarding John's condition and doctors who are treating him. If there is anything you can do to help facilatate this process, it would be appreciated very much. You can reach me at area code (850) 499-2930. Thank you very much.


Sincerely,

Ron Bridges
111 Midland Court
Niceville, Florida 32578

11:52 PM  
Blogger Bethany said...

I have watched the Miami Dolphins for as long as I can remember (I am only 27) and I have been cheering on Zach Thomas ever since he signed on with the team. Not only is he an outstanding linebacker on the field but he also seems to be a great guy off the field. I truely wish that there was more guys in professional sports of Zach Thomas's character. God has given Zach a wonderful talent and he has in turn done truley wonderful things because of that talent. He deosn't do it for the press, or to get his picture in the paper. Jason Taylor and Zach took the time to go and see our brave men and women in the military. They didn't have to do that but they did it anyway, because it was the right thing to do. We should all want to follow Zach's example and thank our service men and women for protecting our rights and freedoms. I hope that one day other professional athletes will smarten up and realize that it is not all about them and how much money they make. They have been put in the position for a reason and it is about time that they step up to the plate. I don't mean that they have to donate all of their paycheck to charities, but they could donate come of their time and that does not cost a thing.
I will be watching Zach Thomas once again this season battle it out on the grid iron and I hope that he will finally get that superbowl ring. Even if he doesn't I will still enjoy watching him. I only hope that I can see him play in person one day.
Bethany
p.s. sorry about all the typos I just got out of anatomy and physiology class and my brain is fried :)

6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like Zach Thomas too, but it sounds Foolish for him to take a paycut so the team can get descent players on the team, yes Zach is a throwback player puts his butt on the line and plays his heart out, but that doesn't mean a player with his talent should ever take a pay-cut to benefit the team. taking a paycut would be something Back in the days a player would do for the love and passion of the game, but todays game is nothing more than Money, and yes i want Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor to get the ring too but thats not up to them, it's up to the coaches, staff and every player too , It's a team sports , If Zach can't produce the numbers on the field, the Franchise would release him in a heart beat like any franchise would do, but to take a pay-cut for the team is damn stupid, he will be needing that money years later down the road, instead of going to convention around the country to signed autograghs like most retired players, as long as he retired as a dolphins and not jump ship to another team for a ring like Seau or Moss did.

9:36 AM  

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