Desire. That’s something that New York Giants corner back Terrell Thomas has – and a lot of it. In 2008 the Giants selected him in the second round of the NFL Draft. He immediately proved himself to be a great addition to the defense and led the team in tackles in 2009 and 2010. But in 2011 during a preseason game against the Bears, Thomas tore his right ACL when teammate Jason Pierre-Paul’s leg whipped into his. After missing the entire 2011 season for rehab of his injury, Thomas returned to the Giants in 2012 only to tear his right ACL again during training camp. This was the third ACL tear for Thomas.
When your desires are strong enough you will appear to possess superhuman powers to achieve. ~ Napoleon Hill
“Dealing with the trauma of back to back ACL surgeries and not knowing how your knee is going to respond has been a difficult mental and physical struggle,” says Thomas. “I had to go through the process twice and elected to have a different surgery the second time which would be better but does have a harder rehab. Rehab alone is tough to deal with but I also have a family to take care of.”
To conquer this latest challenge, Thomas has been drawing on his natural athletic abilities, lessons from past experiences, faith, support of his mom and daughter, a rigorous rehab schedule, unbridled determination and of course his desire. The result? It appears that Thomas possesses the superhuman powers to achieve his goals.
To Play Football
“As far as myself my goal is to get through sixteen games, contribute and prove a lot of people wrong. As far as individual numbers I have no idea. I haven’t played football in two years so I just want to play. My goal is to get through sixteen games and whatever comes with that is a bonus.”
For Thomas, each of his previous injuries have taught him a valuable lesson about himself and life. They are a source of motivation and further fuel his desire.
In 2005, while Thomas was at University of Southern California he was moved to strong side corner. In a game against Arkansas that year, he would suffer a torn ACL injury in his right knee that would sideline him for the season. “I was starting as a redshirt at USC as a sophomore attempting to three-peat as national champions and make history doing so. I was excited, I had a great camp and everything was coming together. Then it happened. I was devastated. I almost flunked out of school because I wasn’t going to class I didn’t care. Then something just finally snapped and I had my best GPA that season I came back and recovered well from my ACL and the rest is history.”
In 2010 Thomas says it was more of a challenge of ‘How bad do you want it?’ “That’s how I took it. I think I took on the challenge very well. I wanted it and I came back in great shape.”
“This last knee injury matured me a lot. It taught me about life and how to be a man. It also taught me that there are a lot of people looking at you wondering how you are going to respond. I have been through the valleys of the roller coaster of life. It taught me that I can withstand anything in life.”
To Be a Great Dad
“I just want to be a great father figure because there are a lot of people who didn’t have a dad growing up. I didn’t grow up with one. I think the stigma on professional athletes is pretty bad. Sports Illustrated just came out with a new cover of athletes not fathering their children and it’s like that’s how the media looks at it and how the media talks about us. We are human just like everybody else it’s just that we play professional sports.”
Like Batman or Ironman, superheroes do not actually require superhuman powers to be a superhero. A superhero (according Merriman-Webster in addition to the traditional comic book characters) is an exceptionally skillful or successful person. In the dad department there’s no doubt Thomas is a superhero.
He enjoys spending as much time as he can with his daughter Tatum and his social networking pages are full of pictures of them playing, laughing and showing off their unique fashion style.
“Being out of town a lot is challenging so I make sure I call her and we Skype. I try to be at as many important events as I can because as a professional athlete a lot of our time is taken away from our families. It is just the little things I make sure I do like when I’m back in town I take her to school, pick her up and hang out with her every day.”
It was extra special for Thomas when his daughter came to New York recently for OTAs. “She spent the whole week with me and she loves getting on the airplanes and flying. Just having her there, being able to come home from work and see her and put her to sleep is very satisfying.”
“I thank God that she is very understanding and a very smart girl. She knows I have been away for the last five months working and getting my knee better.”
Being a father Thomas says makes his rehab and return to the game even more important. “[When] you have the world in your hands taken from you and you have a little two year old looking at you, seeing how you are going to recover, it just motivates me.”
To Win the Super Bowl
“For the Giants we want to win the Super Bowl. We want to be the first team to host a Super Bowl and play in their home stadium. How cool would that be to have home field advantage?”
Thomas says the Giants have the players and “the guys are motivated to get that third championship. A lot of guys are getting towards the end of their careers or their contracts are coming up so this is a chance at a big run.”
Putting team first and taking it one week at it time is what Thomas says is the team’s philosophy and he views his rehab as part of his commitment to the team. “Everyone committed to the team and no selfish players. Everybody is doing what they have to do. I can’t relax on my knee or not rehab it throughout the season because I could miss time. The team aspect is everyone doing their job, being reliable and taking it one week at a time.”
To Give Back
“It is very important my mom always taught me to give back and to never forget where you came from. I think it’s big because there are a lot of people that have helped me out along the way to get where I am at today.”
Thomas just wrapped up his fifth annual football camp back home in California and his friends, fellow NFL players and his mom Teressa were all there to work with the kids.
“Anytime I can take time out of my schedule to get some friends to come down and meet with these kids to play football with them and be a positive influence it’s an amazing thing. I can tell these kids that I played on the same field that they play on and I came from the same area and made it out. If you get good grades and work real hard then that too can be a possibility for you.”
That’s T2, a.k.a.Terrell Thomas, the superhero.
Follow Terrell Thomas on Twitter @TerrellThomas24 and on Instagram @T2ny
Special thanks to @Rebbecca_Octagon @Melwadd & @OctagonFootball
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