"I've said I'm the starter, and they brought me back to be the starter, and that is the mindset I have," Thomas said at his youth football camp in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. "I'm not going to go in saying, 'Oh, I want to compete for a job.' No, I'm the starter."
While Thomas still was part of a championship team, you could hear the frustration when he offhandedly told a gaggle of kids at his camp that he 'sort of' won a Super Bowl.
"It was rough," Thomas later said in an interview. "It was a big-time situation for me. I had contract talks on the horizon, I was picked to really break out that year, so it was tough. A lot of hard work went in throughout the lockout. It was a time to get ahead, but you take everything as a lesson, and that is what I did. I feel I'm a lot stronger as an individual, as a man."
"I know these guys are competing to take my job, and I like it. I want them to push me, because all it's going to do is make me better, and it's going to make us all better as a team, and that is the ultimate goal," he said. "So come training camp, it is going to be fun. I'll be ready. I'll be 100 percent with no limitations, and I'm going to try and put on a show."
"A lot of guys got experience, and the team learned that we are good without certain individuals, or they learned how to play together, and that was the difference," he said. "So it was fun watching them become a team."
Thomas plans on being a part of the fun this time.