Free-agent outside linebacker Bryan Thomas was the longest-tenured New York Jets player last season, having appeared in 157 games over 11 seasons.
Thomas, 33, now is contemplating retirement after doctors found a torn tendon in his shoulder when he went under the knife to repair a torn pectoral muscle six weeks ago.
A part-time player in 2012, Thomas will have trouble drawing interest from teams on a one-year contract since he won't be able to participate in spring practices.
"If I go now and sign for the vet minimum for one year," Thomas explained to the New York Daily News, "I wouldn't even pass the physical right now."
Thomas is reluctant to move his family, which likely means he would only return to play for the Jets. Considering his age and the team's salary-cap woes, this might be the end of the line for the Jets' 2002 first-round draft pick.
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