Devin Thomas will be on the field for the first play of the regular season, whether that means returning the opening kickoff or running down under it in coverage.
“First play I’m going to get some paint on my helmet,” he said.
He expects to have a streak of maroon somewhere on his blue. Of course it wasn’t that long ago that his whole helmet was Redskins red. Thomas was a second-round pick of Washington in 2008 but never really panned out with the team. He was cut by them early last season, spent a few weeks with the Panthers, and was picked up by the Giants late in the year.
He picked up the vernacular here in New York rather quickly. Just a few weeks ago in training camp he made a comment in which he referred to his former team as the “Deadskins.”
“I’ve been catching some heat from my old Redskins fans about that, but it’s all fun and games,” he said. “We go out there and play the game, we talk a little trash, but it’s all on the field and that’s where it’s going to matter.”
Thomas looked good as the kickoff returner this preseason and he is a solid special teams player. Last year he even blocked a punt … against the Redskins. “More to come,” he said of those kinds of plays.
He also said he has a lot of respect for Mike Shanahan, even though he’s the guy who ultimately cut him.
“I still have a lot of respect for him, I still take heed to the things I learned from him,” Thomas said. “It’s funny, he was a coach I always dreamed of playing for. Unfortunately the situation happened. But I picked up everything I learned from him and I apply it now and I think it’s helping me a lot.”
Thomas did admit, though, there will be a little extra juice when he returns to the stadium he used to call home for the first time since his departure.
“It’s all in my past now,” he said of any hostilities he may still hold. “I’m so happy and confident with where I’m at now with this team, it doesn’t faze me any more. But my eyes are going to get a little bigger when I walk in there and get that excitement, that adrenaline rush.
“Trust me, anything I do, I remember where I started at.”