Terrell Thomas looking to make an award-winning comeback

Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas makes a catch during

Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas makes a catch during team training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. (Aug. 6, 2013) (Credit: James Escher)

One of Terrell Thomas’ goals last year was to win Comeback Player of the Year. He wound up missing a second straight season and, looking back, he probably wouldn’t have even been in the conversation with Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson.

This year he’s again hoping to capture that honor. But if he doesn’t?

“It’s not a problem,” he said. “I’ve done enough overcoming two ACLs and I’m just happy to be back.”

One of the players who Thomas may be “competing” against for the prize this year is fellow USC product Brian Cushing of the Texans. The linebacker is also coming back from ACL reconstruction.

“I texted Brian Cushing, I said: ‘You got the bank, let me get Comeback Player of the Year,’” Thomas said in reference to Cushing’s recently-signed 6-year, $55.6 million extension in Houston. “He was happy to oblige.”

Thomas said he’ll probably be more emotional on Sunday when he steps back on the field than he was when he returned for his first preseason game two weeks ago against the Jets. He said he was more excited than emotional in that game.

Amazingly, Thomas isn't even on the team's injury report this week. He certainly appears to be in their plans, and that can include using him in a number of spots from the slot to outside to safety. Antrel Rolle called him "Little 'Trel" earlier this week because of the number of spots Thomas can play, but Thomas was not happy with that nickname.

"We have to nip that in the bud right now," Thomas said with a grin. "He can kill that. He can kiss my you-know-what and take that back where it came from. I ain’t no Little Trel."

These days, of course, players coming back from an ACL are so common that it might be hard to earn Comeback Player of the Year for returning after just one surgery. Besides Cushing you'd have to figure on Darrelle Revis and RG3 being in the running. Perhaps Thomas, who is coming back from a third reconstruction that includes one in college, has more impact behind his candidacy given the two years he has missed.

“There’s a lot of us coming back off ACLs and other injuries and we’re all going to be competing for that,” Thomas said. “It’s a great honor to be honored by your peers, but that doesn’t define my season at all.”

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