Former Ravens and Patriots linebacker Adalius Thomas has been out of football for two seasons now and while nestling himself in his home state of Mississippi, he has taken the transition out of the game very well.
But with a huge game this weekend between the only teams he knew in his NFL career for the AFC Championship and the chance to head to Indianapolis for Super Bowl 46 for Baltimore and New England, he said he wouldn’t mind getting a call and the chance to suit up Sunday.
Thomas joined Glenn Clark on “The Reality Check” Thursday-as he jokingly said that if the Ravens need a versatile linebacker to cover Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski or someone to put the heat on Tom Brady, his phone is on.
“I think first thing…they should call me and let me play this game to guard Gronkowski,” Thomas laughed.
Thomas, a sixth-round pick of the Ravens in 2000, enjoyed his career in Baltimore right from the start.
Despite not playing much in his first three seasons, Thomas earned a championship ring as a member of the Super Bowl XXV team.
It was then and there that he got to learn from one of the best defensive players in the history of the NFL in Ray Lewis, and he sees a similar work ethic out of #52 in this year’s potential Super Bowl run.
“Baltimore has always had a good defense,” Thomas said. “Ray Lewis has always been the head of the defense with the intensity he brings to the game.”
And given the position Thomas is in being out of the game, he hopes that his former teammate gets one more game to show fans what he can do on the football field while hopefully adding another championship ring to his finger.
“I can’t speak personally for Ray, but the postseason is win or go home,” Thomas told Clark. “To know that you never know if you’ll get back to this place, to have this opportunity-you want to give it everything you have.”
Thomas said he was like a sponge from 2000-2006 when it came to his interaction and time with Lewis, and he flourished because of it.
Seeing full-time playing time on defense in 2003, Thomas became quite the weapon for defensive coordinators Mike Nolan and Rex Ryan. During that four year stretch until his final season in Baltimore, Thomas made plays all over the field recording 282 tackles and 32 sacks.
In 2005, he led the NFL in scoring non-offensive touchdowns.
That high level of play paid off for Thomas when he hit free agency after the 2006 season, as the defensive-minded coach in Bill Belichick basically handed AD a blank check to come to New England after two Pro-Bowl seasons in Baltimore.
Much like his first season as Raven, Thomas found himself on a Super Bowl team with the Patriots in 2007, reaching Super Bowl XLII after going 16-0 in the regular season with Tom Brady in the driver’s seat of a record-setting offense.
He recorded two sacks of Giants quarterback Eli Manning in that game, but unfortunately the story didn’t end on a good note for Thomas and the Patriots as the Giants spoiled the perfect season with a 17-14 victory.
He sees a lot of similarities between that team and the 2012 Patriots, and said the Ravens are going to need to bring 100% effort to topple the AFC’s top-seed.
“I think they’re still explosive,” Thomas noted. “You still have Tom Brady at quarterback and a number of receivers that can beat you.”
The biggest asset the Patriots have going for them is the amount of weapons they have at their disposal.
“The one thing that’s always unique about the Patriots is you never know how they’re going to attack you,” Thomas said. “Every week, they break down their opponent and they change their game plan to the best situation that would attack the defense.”
Ultimately though, Thomas rounded out the conversation by saying he’s rooting for his first love, the Baltimore Ravens.
Thomas had an ugly divorce with Belichick and the Patriots, and he loved the city of Baltimore. It’s an easy decision for him on his rooting interest on Sunday.
“I want Baltimore to win because I love the fans there,” Thomas said. “The fans have always been great to me even when I come back there. I still own a house in the area. I hope Baltimore pulls it out.”
WNST thanks AD for joining “The Reality Check” with Glenn Clark! To hear the entire interview, check the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!