Michael Thomas wanted to set a tone with his pre-game ski mask

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Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas is easy to spot on the field.

But he was hard to identify when he came out for pre-game introductions Monday against Washington, because he came through the tunnel wearing a black ski mask.

He has his reasons, and via Josh Katzenstein of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, it’s probably best to let him explain it.

“When you go out there on the big stage, you just got to sometimes put on that mask and just black out and do anything to get this game for your brothers,” Thomas said. “Sometimes you have to set the tone. It’s a night game on a big stage. You want to make sure everyone knows what it is. . . .

“It’s just the mood that we get in when we go out there and we get ready to compete against another team. Kind of just, it’s us versus them, and we’re going in there to take something. They’re not going to just hand it to us.”

OK then, Michael.

Saints coach Sean Payton might not like the mask, but he likes the contributions Thomas made. Even though he only caught four passes for 74 yards Monday, he had a major impact by pumping up his teammates and seemingly getting in the heads of Washington cornerbacks Josh Norman and Quinton Dunbar.

“I’m not a big fan of the ski mask, honestly,” Payton said. “I am a big fan of Mike, though, and how he plays. He is an emotional player. He’s tough, extremely dedicated. He works his tail off. There isn’t a more passionate player, and it’s all football 24/7. Listen, it rubs off (on the team). You can’t help but feel (it).”

Even if you can’t figure out why he’s doing it.