Or maybe it’s Troy Polamalu.
The second year man out of Syracuse became useful in sub packages for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013. There’s lots of promise with this young man, and if it weren’t for a certain Troy Polamalu still reigning as one of the best safeties in the entire NFL, then he might have very well found himself starting in 2014. But, until the king decides to step down from his thrown to hang up his cleats, or (less desirable) sustain an injury during the season, Thomas will continue subbing in the quarters package as a third safety.
However, per ESPN’s Scott Brown, Thomas has a rare and golden opportunity during his continued training this offseason: working out alongside the king himself. Brown notes that Ike Taylor mentioned this bit of information while on the TribLive Radio this week.
I was telling Shamarko before he went out there, ‘Shamarko, that’s something huge because the dude don’t ever do that. As far as learning tendencies and the defense, just the way of life, or just learning how to be a good person, you’re walking with Jesus on earth right there,’” – Ike Taylor
It’s no secret that Polamlu is one of the most introverted and self-reflective athletes in the NFL. He is quiet off the field, rarely ever showing any emotion. But, on the field, he is a beast in pursuit of the football during every snap. It’s quite a juxtaposition. Taylor’s Jesus reference is akin to Polamalu’s sometimes seemingly supernatural performances on the field and his contemplative state off it. Does that make Thomas an apostle?
Should there be too much of a strong religious tone to that reference just think then to the days of the series Kung Fu and the young apprentice snatching the pebble from the masters hand. Or maybe Luke Skywalker and Obi Wan spending some time in his cave dwelling out on Tatooine.
There’s no getting around the feeling that Polamalu’s days are nearly done in the NFL – especially if he’s having his young successor spend the weeks leading up to training camp out in California with him. I wonder what words of wisdom he is passing along? What habits? What zen?
It’s unclear the role Thomas will play this season. Will Allen signed with the Steelers after Thomas suffered an ankle injury in 2013, and kept Thomas off the field even after Thomas recovered from that injury. Allen is still with the Steelers, and it will probably be a battle in training camp worth watching.
Hopefully, Thomas will win that battle for the #2 spot at strong safety and find his way back on the field for some more quarters packages. After all, he is the future at strong safety and needs to begin showing that he is worthy of filling the shoes of legendary Troy Polamalu.