This was certainly a changing of the guard type of year for the New York Giants. Chris Snee, David Wilson, and David Diehl all retired from the NFL. Now you can add Terrell Thomas to that list. Thomas was done in by not one, not two, but three torn ACLs. He is only 30 years old.
Terrell Thomas was drafted by the Giants in the 2nd round of the 2008 draft out of USC. He was a physical specimen at 6-foot-1, 202 pounds while running a 4.45 40 yard dash. He was made the 63rd overall selection by our team.
He didn't do much his rookie season, missing a four games due to injury. He was also playing behind incumbents Aaron Ross and Corey Webster. He really started to peak in 2009, when he replaced Aaron Ross after Ross could not overcome hamstring issues. He ended that season with 85 tackles, 1.0 sack, 1 forced fumble, 5 interceptions, 1 TD, and 13 passes defensed.
He shined brightest in 2010, his 3rd year in the league. He had an astounding 101 tackles, 1.0 sack, 4 forced fumbles, 5 interceptions, and 21 passes defensed. He was on his way to stardom as one of the leagues better corners.
It was then that disaster struck as he tore his ACL for the second time (the first was in college) in a preseason game against the Chicago Bears in 2011. The Giants had him on IR for their Super Bowl season. In 2012, as he tried to come back and become a contributor, it was found that he tore his ACL AGAIN in training camp.
That was three ACL tears for Terrell Thomas by 2012. He didn't give up. He toughed it out both mentally and physically and made a return season for the Giants in 2013. He played in all 16 games, racking up 67 tackles and an interception. The 2013 regular season finale was the last regular season game of his career.
"I thought I was going to have an active free agency," Thomas said in a statement released by the Giants. "The number one thing was the doctors would not approve my knee. Every team, G.M., coaches, they loved me and wanted me, and thought I had a great year after coming back from all the ACL injuries. They thought that I would be better last year. But the doctors wouldn't approve me.
"Knowing the game of football, being 29 with three ACL (injuries), I just figured my time is short. I can keep chasing a dream, but I was blessed to be able to come back and play that one year. To be able to show my family and fans, my daughter and myself that I worked hard enough to overcome some significant injuries and I became the second player in NFL history to come back from three ACLs. I didn't play with a brace. I am proud of my accomplishments. I have been through a lot and I overcame it. I am a smart dude and I am not going to chase football. Football is not chasing me. I feel like my time is over. I was blessed enough to play six years in the NFL. I lived my dream, and now it is time for the next chapter of my life."
The Giants have had some terrible luck with their defensive backs, be it Thomas, Kenny Phillips, Chad Jones, Prince Amukamara's rookie season, Walter Thurmond, or Aaron Ross. Thomas fought back and made such a huge effort after three ACL tears. That's what I'll remember about him, a mentally tough warrior who epitomizes what the Giants are all about.