J.T. Thomas didn’t want to say anything. After spending most of the first month of training camp on PUP with a hamstring injury, returning to practice only this week, and appearing in his first preseason game of the year, he felt funny taking on any kind of leadership role.
But his teammates needed him to. So Thomas delivered the fiery pep talk after the Giants completed their warm-ups and headed back into the locker room just prior to the game.
“Odell, Eli, the guys, they were asking for it,” Thomas said after the Giants’ 21-20 win over the Jets. “So it was cool that the guys wanted to get that kick that I always give them before the game. And it really got me into the flow of things. I appreciate them for that.”
Thomas said he stuck with a saying he’s used in the past when giving his address.
“I always just tell them: What and Who,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what the occasion and who’s the competition. That’s how we approach it.”
Thomas wound up playing a big part in the win beyond his inspirational words. In the fourth quarter, he tipped a pass that wound up in the hands of Kerry Wynn for an interception. Wynn returned it 73 yards for a touchdown to give the Giants a 14-10 lead.
“It’s amazing to tip the ball to a guy who I spent time with when he was out for a while, too,” Thomas said of Wynn, who missed time with a groin injury and also returned to practice this week. “We talked about it. We said that when we had an opportunity to show this defense and this team what we’re made of and how much we want to be a part of what’s going on, that we would. It’s cool to be able to give Kerry an assist.”
Not the coolest, though.
“It would have been great if I got both of my hands on it,” Thomas said.