Healthy Scratch ‘Over With,’ Patriots’ Adalius Thomas Now Focused on Next Game


October 21, 2009

Healthy Scratch 'Over With,' Patriots' Adalius Thomas Now Focused on Next Game FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Adalius Thomas still doesn't understand why he was benched Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, but he'll forge ahead regardless of the situation.

The New England Patriots outside linebacker spoke to the media for about seven minutes Wednesday for the first time this week, and he said it was a "surprise" when he was told by his linebackers coach Sunday morning that he wouldn't dress for the afternoon's game. Thomas has missed 10 games due to injury in his 10-year career, but Sunday was the first time he was deactivated for non-injury reasons since his rookie season in 2000.

"That's over with," Thomas said. "Last Sunday is done. Let's move on to [next Sunday's game against] Tampa. It's bigger than me. These guys had a great game, so we're trying to overshadow it by what happened to one person. No one person is bigger than the game. No one person is bigger than the team. I don't want to make it seem like it's about me because it's not about me. Bill [Belichick] makes the decision. It is what it is. Whether you like it or not, that's what it is. I'll live with it. I'm a professional. I'll come here. I'll do my job, and I'll go home."

Thomas said he has yet to speak with Belichick about the head coach's decision to keep Thomas out of the lineup, and the linebacker had no plans to meet with him, either.

"I'm here just like Bill is here every day," said Thomas, who was standing in front of his locker during the meeting with reporters. "If someone has a problem with you, they come talk to you. Nobody's said nothing to me.

"This locker room is open to you all just like it's open to everybody else," Thomas continued. "If somebody has an issue with me, they'll come talk to me. If they don't have an issue, they won't come talk to me."

Thomas seemed frustrated over the issue, although it would be more alarming if a team's highest-paid outside linebacker was indifferent to missing a game. When asked if he was given a reason why he wasn't playing, Thomas responded, "Ask Bill. He has all the answers."

Thomas only has 12 total tackles and one sack this season, according to coaches' film review, and he admitted Wednesday he thinks he can play better than he has in 2009.

He said he would be ready to play Sunday in London, but when asked if he expected to play, Thomas deferred and said, "Ask Bill." Belichick addressed the matter by saying he dressed the 45 players he felt would give the Patriots the best chance to win, which they did by a 59-0 margin.

"It was a shock," Thomas said. "It is what it is. When you can't explain it, then you really don't know what to say."

Thomas said he doesn't need any extra motivation to play better and would not comment on whether or not this was a decision to give him an extra spark going forward.

"I come to work every day, be a professional, do my job and do what I'm asked to do," said Thomas, who is signed through 2011. "That's all I can do."

Give Thomas credit for addressing the issue with the media Wednesday, which is always the most highly-attended day of the week for reporters and television crews. By commenting on the situation, he saves his teammates from having to answer for him, and Thomas is hoping this puts an end to it.

Thomas said that, despite not speaking with Belichick about the benching, their relationship is fine. Whether or not Thomas was served a metaphorical dish of humble pie is something he may never admit. All Thomas wants to do is get back onto the field and help the Patriots improve their record.

"It's not about me," Thomas said. "You keep wanting to make this about me. It's bigger than me. It's about us playing Tampa, our team versus their team. It's not about me and Bill. We're fine. It seems like you all have a bigger problem. I'm fine. I'm fine. I come to work. I do what I'm asked to do. Whatever decisions Bill makes, I respect that from a player's standpoint to a coach. Whether I agree with that or not is something totally different, but it's not about me. It's about the Patriots versus Tampa right now."

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