Terrell Thomas is going to call the Giants on Wednesday to work out details to visit with the team when they are in San Francisco this weekend. And if they win and advance to the Super Bowl, it would seem to be a no-brainer for Thomas to be in Indianapolis with them as well.
But not quite. Maybe the only thing more difficult, more painful than tearing an ACL in the second preseason game and missing the entire season is having to stand on the side six months later and watch that same team play for a championship.
“That will be a hard one,” Thomas said, admitting that he’ll be “torn” over whether or not to make the (still hypothetical) trip to Super Bowl XLVI. “It’s a once in a lifetime situation where you might never be able to be in that situation as far as the activities and being a part of the team, because I am a part of the team as far as being there and putting my time in over the years. Obviously I’ve been hurt this year and didn’t contribute in any way, but over time I have.
“I think I’d have to be there but it’s a tough one,” he continued. “The mindset that I have as a player, it’s a game that I love. Obviously I would love to be in the playoffs. I played in one playoff game and we lost and I was only a rookie. Them making this run is hard enough, but to play in the ultimate game that some people never really get to play in would be really tough to have to be on the sideline and cheer my team on. Obviously I would wish them the best, but it would be really hard on my part.”
Thomas has spent most of the time during this season rehabbing in California, and he said that process is coming along ahead of schedule. About a month ago he was three weeks ahead and he’s starting to run on a zero-gravity treadmill. But he did fly to New York two weeks ago for the playoff game against the Falcons.
“I went for the pregame but I didn’t want to be down there as a distraction,” he said. “I haven’t been there all year. I don’t think IR players should be on the field. You’re kind of away from the team. Maybe during the week when you’re rehabbing come in and check on the guys but as far as being on the field for the game, I didn’t want to be a distraction. I wanted to let them do their thing and just give them support.”
So he watched the Packers game from home and will make the trip up to San Francisco this weekend.
Thomas said he talks regularly with friends on the team including Victor Cruz and Kenny Phillips. He also keeps in touch with some of the other players who wound up on injured reserve like Domenik Hixon, Brian Witherspoon and Michael Coe. One player who he hasn’t been in regular contact with has been Jon Goff, the starting middle linebacker who was injured in a fluke collision in practice in the week leading up to the season opener.
“Jon has been a ghost, he’s taken it the hardest,” Thomas said. “He just kind of wanted to get away and be by himself and get himself right. There’s nothing wrong with that. I think it’s his first injury and it can be hard, especially going into a contract year and especially with what the team is doing right now. It’s tough. Everybody handles it different.”
Goff and Thomas are both free agents after this season. Thomas said he expects to be back with the Giants.
“I haven’t been shy about saying that I definitely want to return,” he said. “I planned on signing a new contract with them this season so my mind was already made up. I wasn’t one of those guys who was going to go into free agency and see what’s out there. But you never know with this game. Certain things happen. I hope it doesn’t happen. Everyone from the GM to the owners have reassured me that they want me back and want to get a deal done that suits both parties and I definitely believe that we can get that done in the near future.”
Until then, it’s more rehab, more training, and getting ready for the 2012 season while his teammates put the finishing touches on what could be a magical 2011 season. And a painful one for Thomas.
“It’s hard not to be a part of that,” he said. “I worked real hard in this offseason and I felt like I was emerging as a team leader. I felt like I established myself in the organization as a guy to depend on in the defense. I enjoyed being that guy, I enjoyed the role Perry Fewell put me in to make plays for our defense, so it hurts not to be out there. Obviously I’m happy for my guys who are making big plays … It’s fun to watch them play, but I definitely want to be a part of it and I can’t wait to get back.”