Terrell Thomas Transcript, 07.27.12

Q: Feel Good?
A: Yeah. I’ve been cleared by the doctors. No limitations. I’m pretty much able to do everything as far as working out with the group of guys. You know squatting, jumping, running, cutting. All of that.

Q: Excited to be back out there with the guys?

A: Definitely. I can’t wait to practice with them again. Just get in the huddle with them. Learn from them. Obviously they became a great team, great defense last year. Won a Super Bowl. So I definitely want to be apart of that and get going on that again.

Q: What kind of expectations do you have on yourself coming into the season?

A: Same as I had last year. I set the goal high for myself. I kicked my butt this offseason to come back in the same form I was last year. I feel I’m almost there. I’m going to use training camp as a time to condition myself to football shape. As far as the weight room aspect, with my knee being strong and all that, I have full belief in my knee. Now I’ve got to get back and become a great football player.

Q: How crazy was it last year just to see how injuries affected the unit with guys going down?

A: It’s something that we’ve dealt with every year. Unfortunately in my rookie year, Osi, Antonio, Kenny, Keith, Kiwi and then me. Hopefully we can stay healthy this year. We have a lot of depth. Great players. I think we see the potential on paper. Obviously it starts today though to build on that.

Q: How hard was it for you to sit around and watch the Super Bowl?
A: It wasn’t hard at all. It was harder during the season. God taught me a lot and it could have been a lot worse for me. I’m on a great team, great organization. Progress on my knee was doing well. So I was just happy to be able to be apart of that.

Q: What do you think of Antrel’s haircut?

A: 26 is something different. He’s a Miami cat. That’s him all day. He said the last three years, every time he’s done something, it’s worked for him. It got him to a Super Bowl in Arizona. Whatever helps, it works.

Q: When you play cornerback, you need to have that swagger, that confidence. When you’re playing on the knee and working through all of that stuff, do you just have to convince yourself? Do you have to not think about it?

A: Without a doubt. You do that by your preparation. I’m definitely prepared. I have a great team and doctors and the training staff worked with me and allowed time for my knee to get stronger and build around it. I have no limitations. I don’t second-guess any time I fall or jump or anything. My biggest thing is getting back into football shape. Covering, tackling, press techniques. All the little things I wasn’t able to do in rehab.

Q: When you’re out there these couple of weeks and it responds the way you want it to respond, will that only help in that regard?

A: My confidence is high right now. I feel like I’m the same guy I was last year. Obviiously I’m coming off a knee. I’m not going to be the same football player. And that’s the biggest thing I want to build on these next couple of weeks. Getting back to the techniques and all of that stuff.

Q: You think you’re extra motivated after last year’s injury and not being part of it?
A: Yea. Without a doubt. I was extra motivated as soon as I got injured. Everybody doubting me. It being my second ACL. That’s always been my motive in life. I’ve been through four injuries and overcame all of them and came back better than people expected. So I’m excited for the challenge and just to be part of a great group of guys and defending Super Bowl Champs and help them in any way I can.

Q: You always wanted to come back here?
A: Yea. It’s a great organization. Team first. Family first. I can say nothing but good things about this organization. How they handled my whole situation. I’m just happy to be back playing with such a great coaching staff and group of guys.

Q: How is the secondary going to change this year? There’s no Deon Grant. There’s no Aaron Ross. You’re back. Antrel should slide back mainly to safety. Prince is going to play more. How do you see the secondary changing this year?

A: I think we’re going to make a statement this year. We’re tired of being the underdog of the defense. Obviously our front four is the big name. We help them out a lot and vice versa. Antrel is a Pro Bowl player. Obviously Corey Webster should have been a Pro Bowl caliber guy. Kenny has been solid. We’ve got a bunch of young guys that are ready to play. I think we’re excited for the challenge to prove a lot of people wrong.

Q: How much work do you expect to get at camp?
A: I have no idea. That’s up to the coaches and the front office. I’m not limited in any way. I’m excited. I worked my butt off to get to this point. I told you guys I’d be ready by day one. Here it is and I’m ready to go.

Q: You said underdog of the defense. Do you think you guys are overlooked?

A: A lot. I think we’re the secondary that gets blamed for everything when something goes wrong. But they understand that we’re built on our pass rush. And if the pass rush isn’t there, the coverage is right there, then obviously the timing is going to be off. When it clicks it clicks. But the sacks, the caused fumbles go to the d-line but, a lot of those are coverage sacks as well. But we get no credit for it. I think we’re tired of that. I think it’s time for Corey to make the Pro Bowl. I think it’s time for Kenny to get the recognition. Antrel’s been there a couple of times. I’m ready to storm back with the same ambitions I had last year.

Q: Last year there was talk of you going to the Pro Bowl. Do you feel like…

A: Yea. That’s the goal I’ve been working on. A lot of people doubt me. Say I couldn’t recover from a second ACL. It would be too hard. Why set the bar so low. I set it high to come back as the same player I was last year. We’ll see throughout this training camp as I condition myself back in. As far as my knee, I feel like I’m there.

Q: You weren’t doing much at the mini camp. Is today any kind of a hurdle for you?

A: Not at all. I was cleared for mini camp to do everything. They just held me back for precautions, which was probably smart to give myself time to heal. Let the knee get stronger and build around it. That’s exactly what they did. But as of today, I’m cleared and good to go.

Q: How about mentally?

A: Mentally, I’m ready to go. My confidence is sky high. My biggest thing is working myself back into football shape. As far as the weight room, the rehab and all of that, I killed that part. Now it’s becoming a football player. Covering, working on my technique. And all of that stuff that comes along with playing football.

Q: What will be the biggest indicator for you when you say: You know what, I’m back?

A: It’s just going to be covering. Covering Hakeem and maybe picking off Eli a couple of times. Making a couple of plays. Cruz. We’ve got some great wide receivers. Just getting back to my roots. Bursting. You’ll be able to tell through film and watching that. You know that he hasn’t lost a step. Or he can cover that guy. So that’s the biggest thing. I’m confident in the weight room as far as my rehab. I haven’t played any football for a whole year. For me to think I’m the same player, I’m not. This is the time for me to build and work on my craft.

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