MSU/NFL WR Devin Thomas Talks Football, Family and More!
Q: My buddy Devin Thomas, wide receiver for the Lions. How you doing brother?
A: Hey, how you doing Hondo? You alright?
Q: You know meâ€¦I love to talk to you anytime I can.
A: I know, right? Itâ€™s always a good time.
Q: Being from Ann Arbor, have you had to pinch yourself yet that youâ€™re playing for your hometown team?
A: Man, words canâ€™t describe the blessing of coming home to play. Just being able to be with the same team you root for your whole life, just a dream come true. Every day I really thank the Lord that Iâ€™m able to play with the Lions and I look forward to training camp.
Q: How was your Fatherâ€™s Day?
A: It was nice, it was nice. I was able to hang out with my dad and have my son with us. We actually went out to get on some go karts, some pretty fast ones, me and my dad. So it was a good time, some father/son time.
Q: How did becoming a dad change you, Devin?
A: Itâ€™s definitely changed the priorities, switching from yourself to somebody that needs you. You kinda go through things sometimes before you had kids where everything is all about you and planning your own future. But having kids, itâ€™s somebody elseâ€™s future besides your own. It put things in perspective for me.
Q: You have the ability to see a play three or four steps ahead, the way the play develops. Is that a gift youâ€™ve always had?
A: Well yeah, I think anticipating how somethingâ€™s gonna happen is like a foretold story. Sometimes you know a big playâ€™s gonna happen or you got that vibe that youâ€™re gonna do something spectacular. It kinda blows with the wind, you know what I mean? Itâ€™s something that you gotta have intuition when it happens. Like you said, I had a moment in a special teams situation where I was with the Giants and the 49ersâ€¦just felt like something was gonna happen in the game. I didnâ€™t know what it was, and it ended up happening for me. I guess intuition.
Q: I think sometimes you need to be more selfish. Becoming an athlete, becoming successful, has it been hard for you to learn to tell people no?
A: Well, you kinda gotta learn as you deal with it. At first youâ€™re so open to helping everybody or feeling like everybodyâ€™s there that needs your help, but sometimes you start to realize that some people define help in different ways. It goes with experience. You go from having money to ideas of wisdom of how to get people help with experience. Thatâ€™s more so now for me. Whether itâ€™s my time or my work, I like to give back more than anything because I feel like it carries a little bit more weight, but sometimes just handing over some money to somebody just because theyâ€™ve got an open hand.
Q: What have you done this off-season to get ready? Youâ€™re already in great shape.
A: Yeah, for me right now Iâ€™m just kinda regrouping, getting a little R&R. I had a strong mini camp. For me itâ€™s just staying in conditioning, really. You know me, I keep a good strength about me. Iâ€™m pretty good in the weight room; I donâ€™t need to touch that too much more. Iâ€™m pretty set. Probably get down to Miami in a week and start running out there on the beach a little bit, kinda soaking up the time I have before we have to put the pads on.
Q: I believe good things happen to good people. Youâ€™ve done a great job of staying positive. Whatâ€™s your secret?
A: I think thereâ€™s really no secret besides the fact that Iâ€™m a positive person. Thatâ€™s something to do with my nature. It kinda just deals with the universe. I put out positive things, I try to look on the brighter side of things. No matter what the circumstances, whether itâ€™s good times or bad times, find a way through it. Thatâ€™s the way life is. I have done some things with football, opening some doors, different entertainment things. But now that Iâ€™m older now Iâ€™m just kinda more relaxed, you know? Soaking up football and just enjoying my family.
Q: Do you ever just sit and look at that Super Bowl ring and say, Man. Iâ€™m a Super Bowl champion.
A: You know what, I actually have the ring put up and I donâ€™t really look at it no more. I just know itâ€™s in my mind. Now Iâ€™m with the Lions and have a little more age on me, more years you could say. Itâ€™s really like I wanna bring that home. I really wanna bring it right here with Detroit. If I could just be part of the puzzleâ€¦ Our team is spectacular with talent. I feel like the coaches are doing a good job leading us in the right direction. So if I could just be a part of this and bring something back home, that would be the best feeling in my life.
Q: Reggie White didnâ€™t wear his Super Bowl rings either. He used to say they represented the past and he wanted to be about the future. Is that what Iâ€™m hearing from you too?
A: Yeah, no doubt. It was a building block and something I cherish at all times, obviously winning that Super Bowl. Iâ€™m still playing the game. That one championship is always gonna be there and a part of me. Now letâ€™s get another one, letâ€™s get it to where I can get another one with the hometown. That would be the best.
Q: When you look down the line of scrimmage of the Lions and see all these talented offensive players, do you ever pinch yourself?
A: Yeah. Like I said, itâ€™s amazing. Being a pro youâ€™re just being around guys that have made it and are in the same boat with you. You know guys that are highlights with what theyâ€™ve done and to be a part of them itâ€™s like, Man we went through this together. Iâ€™m gonna make plays, you make plays, and letâ€™s make a compilation of highlights. Thereâ€™s no greater mentor Iâ€™ve had than Calvin as a receiver. Iâ€™ve had some great ones around me but man, his attributes are unparalleled. Staffordâ€¦ All of those guys are pretty young, weâ€™re all in the same age group. So if I can stick around and we can win some championships around here, that would be a true blessing.
Q: Being from Michigan, if you win a Super Bowl youâ€™re gonna be elevated to god status.
A: This is what the city needs, man. If we could win one, I couldnâ€™t imagine what Michigan would be like.
Q: Youâ€™ve always been such a great role model. I canâ€™t say that about everybody, but Iâ€™ve always loved that about you. Youâ€™re the kind of guy that Iâ€™m glad my son looks up to.
A: Iâ€™m glad too. I really respect that because thereâ€™s a lot of great guys out there that have come from our school. For me itâ€™s just about being humble and being grounded, removing yourself from any situation besides being a human being. If I can be a role model to somebody, thatâ€™s what itâ€™s all about.
Q: You mentioned that Calvin has been a great mentor to you. What does that mean? How has he mentored you?
A: Just the way he attacks practice every day. The communicationâ€¦communication of how to make a play, how to adjust your hands, just the little things that you gotta remind yourself as a receiver that he does every play, really. Knowing that he had three broken fingers during the season, showing his endurance of fighting through pain. Heâ€™s the type of guy that you would love to have for your team. Heâ€™s a humble, down-to-earth guy. Like I said, itâ€™s a good opportunity to be a part of what heâ€™s done and his success. I know what I can bring to the table is gonna be great.
Q: You and Coach Dantonio have a lot more than a coach-player relationship. What is it about him that made you say, I buy into this guy. I love this guy.
A: Well, I feel like he treated me like a young man. I think as any kid coming into a program or being in a programâ€¦youâ€™re young, youâ€™re feeling confident about yourself but youâ€™re not, in a sense, with your immediate family. Youâ€™re making a new family. With him coming in as head coach he definitely took a role to me like a father. I respected him and he showed me respect as a young man and I just want to do my best for him. Unfortunately I couldnâ€™t come back for my senior year. I decided to make a move based on the fact of me becoming a father myself. Itâ€™s one of those bittersweet situations. Because heâ€™s a great coach but heâ€™s somebody you can always go back and talk to. Heâ€™s always got your best interest. Iâ€™ve got much love for Coach D.
Q: I love the fact that you havenâ€™t changed, youâ€™re still Devin. Iâ€™m proud of you.
A: I appreciate that. I appreciate that, man. Sometimes you can just get lost in it. Iâ€™ve had my momentsâ€¦itâ€™s tough. Whether itâ€™s a good thing or a bad thing, itâ€™s your attitude. Once you get grounded and understand that itâ€™s not always gonna go your way, you still gotta be yourself and deal with your circumstances, you get through those tough situations.
Q: I love the fact that whether youâ€™re playing in the NFL or not, youâ€™re still gonna be my boy. I love you, man.
A: Love you too, bro. No doubt. We gotta get back together and get another game of hoops or something.
Q: Basketball is probably not my bright spot. When I fell on those little people they did not appreciate that too much, did they?
A: No, no, no. I seen youâ€¦ I thought you might have hurt yourself. I thought you might have hurt yourself.
Q: When I took my family to watch that movie â€œThe Great and Powerful Ozâ€, I would think, Oh yeah I crushed him. Oh yeah I crushed him.
A: Thatâ€™s great.
Q: By the way, you gotta quit changing NFL teams because it costs me money for new jerseys. Letâ€™s stick with the Lions until retirement, howâ€™s that?
A: That would be great for me. I would love that.
Q: Good luck. God bless you with the Lions.
A: Alright, brother. Take care.