As tight end Julius Thomas gets ensconced with his third NFL team and, in turn, his third starting quarterback, he knows that there’s one key ingredient to getting the most out of his relationship with Ryan Tannehill.
“There’s no other way,” Thomas told reporters on Wednesday. “Sometimes we have some of the smartest football people in the world in the NFL, but there’s no way to get around hard work and time. It’s not going to happen this week. It’s not going to happen by the end of OTAs. It’s going to take rep after rep after rep and we’ll get there.”
Time also has been important to Thomas in two other ways. As in having enough time in the league to understand the game, and also having enough of it left physically to take advantage of how well he understands the game.
“When I was younger, somebody told me that the hardest part about playing when you get older is getting your body right and the game slows down,” Thomas said. “I’m kind of in that sweet spot where the body still feels good and the game is slowing down. So I’m really looking forward to this year — year seven — so that’s going to be an exciting time for me.”
It wasn’t an exciting time in Jacksonville for Thomas, but he’s not bitter.
“Sometimes things just don’t work out,” Thomas said. “I don’t have any ill will towards anybody in Jacksonville. I like everybody there. We all got along great. But not everything always fits. It just wasn’t a fit for me. It’s definitely appreciated, the opportunity they gave me, and the people that I met and the things that I learned in Jacksonville, and I’ll take that on to still become a better player every year. . . . I became a much better person the last two years. To have some struggles on the field really helped me grow as a person, mentally and in my own personal life. I’m not upset by the way things happened. Sometimes the best way to learn is when you’re going through things and I definitely took advantage of that in my own life.”
Regardless of what happened in Jacksonville, it sounds like that won’t be happening in Miami, now that Thomas has reunited with former Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase.
“Not only is he a guy that I think is one of the best football minds — he’s really good at teaching and instructing — but he’s also somebody that I consider a friend and somebody that I trust in this game,” Thomas said. “To have that marriage is pretty good.”
If Thomas can perform like he did in Denver with Gase now that he’s in Miami with Gase, it could be better than pretty good for the Dolphins.