When the Dolphins traded for now former Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas, there was a certain amount of skepticism among the fan base regarding Thomas' ability to remain healthy. After dealing with ankle and back injuries - among others - in his career and never having completed a full season, naturally there was cause for concern.
However, Thomas assures everyone that he will be just fine in Miami, and nothing is going to hold him back now that he's back with the head coach who turned him into the player he is today.
"Gase is a guy that I trust." he said. "He’s a guy that I’ve had a relationship with for a long time in this business. I really believe in his philosophy for offense and his approach to coaching, so it was definitely exciting, definitely something that I’m really looking forward to – having the opportunity to play with him again.”
Now while it is encouraging to know that Gase immediately knows exactly what to expect out of Thomas, his health is still something to question.
Thomas insists that it actually isn't.
“I can tell you that, fortunately for me, I don’t have any lingering deficiencies from injuries." Thomas said. "At different times, you can have some injuries in your life that really affect you and make it hard. But for me, my ankle was able to heal up really well, especially from my ankle surgery back in 2012, I think. It’s relatively … I had very few ankle injuries after that, especially for that side. It’s encouraging that it was a great surgery, and I feel good about it.
"My back is fine. If you’re playing football and you don’t have something up with your hand at age 29, I think you’re pretty rare. I don’t really have any handicaps or anything holding me back with injuries I’ve had in the past. They’ve all been able to heal up. I guess the fortunate part is it’s always something new and not something chronic, so I feel really good."
There will definitely be a certain amount of expectation placed on Thomas once he takes the field for the first time. But make no mistake, Thomas has the same expectations for himself, which is very encouraging to hear.
“I definitely have high expectations for myself." he said. "As far as numbers, that fluctuates and I don’t really know how that’s going to go; but I definitely expect to go out there and help make big plays for this offense. Whatever aspect that I have to do – whether that’s picking up an extra block in the run game, pull someone on the back side, coming out of a speed route or making sure that I’m there open in the middle of the field for Ryan (Tannehill) – I really take pride in what I do and going out there and playing football and helping my team win."
It's been a long time since the Dolphins had a true seam-threat tight end on their roster, and now that Thomas is here, the offense stands to become that much more dangerous. As long as he can stay healthy, there's a good chance that the offense - and the rest of the team - can take yet another step forward.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung
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