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J.T. Thomas' big game vs. Giants may have been a reason they signed him

Jacksonville Jaguars outside linebacker J.T. Thomas dives in

Jacksonville Jaguars outside linebacker J.T. Thomas dives in under New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings to recover a fumble by quarterback Eli Manning for a touchdown during an NFL game at EverBank Field on Nov. 30, 2014, in Jacksonville, Fla. Credit: AP / Stephen B. Morton

The lowest point of the 2014 season - and quite possibly of the last 10 years of Giants football - was the loss to the Jaguars in December. It was after that game that team president and CEO John Mara said he sat on the bus and contemplated firing everyone.

But not everyone left the stadium with a bitter taste on that day. On the other side of the field, in the other locker room, J.T. Thomas was having a career game. In fact, it may have been one of the reasons the Giants were turned on to signing the free agent linebacker, a deal they made official on Wednesday.

"I actually had a chance to force a turnover and score a touchdown against the Giants last year and it was really cool," Thomas said. "I want to be able to do that on a consistent basis. That's my thing. I'm all about the ball. I think that is really important to our success as a team."

Thomas had 12 tackles in the Jaguars' win over the Giants to go with the forced fumble and touchdown on a sack of Eli Manning in the third quarter to spark the comeback from a 21-0 deficit.

"Probably one of my better games," he said. "I scored a touchdown, as well. That doesn't happen often for a defensive player to get on that scoreboard. It was a really cool feeling and what a coincidence that I end up right back here in New York. It's really cool."

Of course, it wasn't just the one game that convinced the Giants to sign Thomas. He has played in 47 games with 12 starts for the Bears and Jaguars and his career totals include 97 tackles (59 solo), two interceptions, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery on defense, and 16 special teams tackles.

"I've had a really interesting journey," Thomas said. "To end up here, I am blessed for it. I really gained a lot of knowledge. I had the opportunity to study behind Brian Urlacher. I had a chance to watch a guy like [Jaguars linebacker] Paul Posluszny, the ultimate professional. (Posluszny) handles business day in and day out. I take all of those things. I don't bother them with a lot of questions. I watch, though. I watch intensely.

"Now to be here with Jon Beason and Jameel [McClain], there are things we are going to be able to take from each other's games and help make each other better. That is always the goal for the guys in the room, to be able to have some type of camaraderie and make each other better day in and day out."


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