Ex-New York Giants Cornerback Terrell Thomas Retires From NFL


Terrell Thomas Retires From NFL After Six Seasons

Everyone knows that NFL players have the shortest careers of any professional athletes. When they suffer injuries as serious as an ACL tear, that will usually cut it even short. When it happens multiple times, it is easy to throw in the towel and call it a career. Terrell Thomas was not one of those players, as he bounced back from not only one, not two, but three ACL surgeries to the same knee to continue his career. But when struggling to find a market for his services, Thomas decided to call it a career Thursday, officially announcing his retirement at the age of 30.

Thomas first tore his ACL while in college at USC. That didn’t derail the New York Giants from selecting him in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Thomas was showing great promise for the Giants, recording five interceptions in both 2009 and 2010. He also led the team in tackles both seasons, looking well on his way to being one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.

Then the injuries began for him once again, as he tore the same ACL during the preseason in 2011. He did all of the rehab again, and got himself back into playing shape only to tear it again during training camp in 2012. That made three ACL tears on the same knee, at which point many people would give up. Thomas not only didn’t give up, he rehabbed and got healthy enough to return to the field for the Giants.

Thomas returned for the 2013 season, and appeared in all 16 games for the Giants. Thomas even received NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors in Week 8 that season when the Giants defeated the Philadelphia Eagles. Appearing in all 16 games after missing two full seasons is quite a feat, and Thomas expected to have a decent market following the 2013 season. But he was met with the cruel world of the NFL, as there was very little interest in him.

"“I thought I was going to have an active free agency. The number one thing was the doctors would not approve my knee. Every team, GM, coaches, they loved me and wanted me, and thought I had a great yet after coming back from all the ACL injuries. They thought that I would be better last year. But the doctors wouldn’t approve me.” Terrell Thomas In A Statement Thursday"

The inability to get cleared made for a cold market for Thomas, who received interest only from the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers. The interest from these teams is interesting, because the Seahawks have one of the most vaunted secondaries in the NFL. With that in place, their interest in Thomas must mean they thought highly of his skills. The Panthers interest in Thomas is interesting because he would have been on the same team as linebacker Thomas Davis, the only other player believed to have three ACL surgeries on the same knee and appear in an NFL game.

Thomas is understandably disappointed his career is coming to an end after what was such a strong 2013 given the circumstances, but he seems to have accepted his fate.

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"“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.” – Terrell Thomas In A Statement Thursday"

It is always disappointing to see a career cut short by injuries, especially one that seemed to be as promising as Thomas’. But all good things must come to an end eventually, and usually accepting that your playing days are over is the hardest part. Thomas seems to have already accepted that, and we wish him nothing but the best in whatever life leads him to do next.

Next: New York Giants Offseason Outlook

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