Because of the archaic agreement between the NFL and the NCAA which keeps him from practicing with his teammates, Solomon Thomas sought some outside counsel.
And it made enough of an impact on him that he changed his jersey number.
The No. 3 overall pick told Alex Marvez and Ed McCaffrey on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he worked out with former Cowboys and Broncos pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware, and will wear 94 in his honor.
“It was a really cool experience to learn from him,” Thomas said. “He taught me some crazy stuff. His technique is amazing. I was trying to take it all in. I’m texting him so hopefully I can do it again sometime.”
Thomas is going to play multiple roles for the 49ers this year, likely as a 4-3 end on first down, and sliding inside to defensive tackle on passing downs to take advantage of his rush abilities. But they also want him to learn the “Leo” position, putting the big man in space as a weakside rusher as well.
That’s where the tips from Ware (who retired with 138.5 sacks, eighth on the all-time list) will come in handy.
Of course, he can’t participate fully with the 49ers yet because Stanford’s on the quarter system and players can’t join their teams until finals end, so he’s going to have to wait to put the knowledge to use.
“It’s kind of hard right now,” Thomas said. “I’m kind of itching to go out there and report and just be with the guys. I’m a guy who always likes to be around my team, grind with my team and compete with my teammates.”
But at least if he can’t, he’s getting good advice.