Julius Thomas joins Dolphins as 'much better person'

Whether Dolphins tight end Julius Thomas arrived in Miami a better player or not remains to be seen. But he knows he's coming to his new team as a better person.

"I became a much, much better person in the last two years," Thomas said, via ESPN.com. "Having some struggles on the field really helped me grow mentally and in my own personal life. So I'm not upset by the way things happened. Sometimes the best way to learn is when you go through things. I definitely took advantage of that in my own life."

He dug a little deeper: "I think sometimes you get the impression that your success on the field defines who you are as a person and how well you're living your life, and that's really not the case. As you get older you start to realize that. When you're 25 or 26, have amazing stats and you're playing in a Super Bowl, it's really easy to just be focused on just your game and not the kind of person you're being and relationships with your friends and family."

Thomas went on to spout some of the well-worn clichés common with May preseason football -- he's in the best shape, the best years are still ahead of him -- but the cathartic discussion of his personal life separated an otherwise banal organized team activities interview from the pack.

We've seen players go through the 'humbling' process before. Thomas arrived in Jacksonville as a high-priced, top-tier free agent target, only to catch a handful of footballs over the next two years. He was traded to theDolphins only because his tireless effort as a young player under Peyton Manning with the Broncos made an impression on the current Dolphins coaching staff, which had connections to Thomas in Denver and with Manning.

Should he become a dependable mid-range receiving target for Ryan Tannehill -- something the Dolphins have struggled to find in recent years -- the personal growth will be as fulfilling on the field as it has been off the field.

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