David Thomas proud to be a Patriot
GLENDALE, Ariz. — There was a time that being drafted by the New England Patriots felt like purgatory.
Former Frenship tight end and linebacker David Thomas went to New England in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft and immediately knew he was joining a successful organization that regarded players like Thomas as possible starters and not just replaceable depth.
“When I got drafted I was just excited to be a part of such a good organization that expects to win championships,” Thomas, in his second year in the NFL, said. “The way they run things, I’m so proud to be a part of it.”
On Sunday, Thomas can add a Super Bowl ring to the national championship ring he won with Texas if the Patriots defeat the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
Unfortunately, Thomas won’t be able to participate. After catching just one pass in his first two appearances of the 2007 season, Thomas broke his foot against Cincinnati on Oct. 1 and went on injured reserve two days later.
While existing on the periphery of the Patriots’ historic season has been enjoyable, his injury has made the experience bittersweet.
“You always want to be a part of the game,” Thomas said. “But it makes you appreciate that you’re on a good team and you cheer for the guys that are out there.”
The Patriots are 18-0 and a win Sunday would make them the first NFL team to win 19 games en route to a Super Bowl. The 1972 Dolphins went 17-0 en route to their first Super Bowl title.
Like most of the Patriots, Thomas said the team’s ability to remain focused through a firestorm of media coverage begins with head coach Bill Belichick.
“I think for us the most important thing has been to focus on the next game,” Thomas said. “Make every week a one-week season and not worry about what’s happening next week. Just worry about this week. That’s all he (Belichick) worries about.”
Thomas called Tuesday’s media day, which attracted thousands of reporters and TV cameramen, “crazy.” He also found it difficult to compare that experience with his media day experiences at UT.
He had the same problem comparing the hoopla surrounding the Super Bowl and the Longhorns’ BCS National Championship game victory over USC.
“With the national championship game, there’s so much time in between your last game and the bowl game, so you have more time to prepare for it,” Thomas said. “With the BCS you get to sit back and think about it. This (the Super Bowl) happens so fast and it’s a much bigger event. You just have to hold onto your reality and make sure you don’t get caught up in it.”
Thomas’ roots remain in Wolfforth, where his parents still live. They’ll be at the Super Bowl, along with Thomas’ wife and some cousins. Thomas managed to find enough tickets to accommodate everyone.
He even keeps up with his old high school team via Frenship defensive coordinator Don Black. They talk at least twice a week during Frenship’s football season.
So, even though he won’t be playing, he’ll carry the banner for the Tigers into Sunday’s game.
“I like get back there (Wolfforth) two or three times a year,” Thomas said. “I’d like to get back there more.”