Back at State
Street Brats, Thomas is discussing what motivates him. "Fear of failure. It
drives me to work the way I work. I learned from my parents that hard work is
its own reward. Hard work makes me happy. That's why actually getting drafted
and getting the contract--those aren't the big things to me. The first minicamp
is important, and learning the offense, wherever I'll be, is
"You know what
Joe loves?" Annie Nelson says. "Being prepared."
game last season [against Bowling Green]," Thomas says, "I'm coming off
the ACL injury, and I give up a sack. I was embarrassed. Totally embarrassed.
That pissed me off so much I couldn't stand it. And after that game I was
sooooo pissed off. I was determined not to give up a sack the rest of the year,
and I didn't. To me the left tackle and cornerback positions in football are
different from the other positions. You can play well 69 of 70 plays, but if
you give up a sack or a big reception on one play, you're not doing your job.
You need to be perfect."
But in the NFL,
Thomas is told, he will face players who are quicker, stronger and trickier
than those he dominated in college. He can't expect to be perfect in the pros.
"You can try," Thomas says. "My goal, every year, will be to allow
zero sacks and zero pressures. You should never set a goal of less than