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Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee Robert Thomas

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  • Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee Robert Thomas

    Tuesday, October 12, 2004

    Staff Writer

    Robert Thomas isn’t exactly the moist boisterous player on the Rams. The middle linebacker likes to keep to himself; some would say he is as shy as a child.

    It comes as no surprise, then, that when Thomas is around adults, he is reserved. But put him around kids and that all changes. Thomas takes on the personality of the children around him, laughing, joking and playing as though he were not quite old enough to cross the street yet.

    This side of Thomas isn’t as rare as it might sound, for he spends a good portion of his time off the field in the company of children, usually at a children’s hospital in St. Louis. He formed Thomas’ Team to organize group outings for children. The group goes to the movies, McDonald’s and various places with Thomas — and no parents are allowed.

    “When there are no parents the kids can just let loose and have fun,” Thomas said. “I’m a child myself, so I like to interact with kids, play around with them.”

    His dedication to kids has earned him a nomination for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

    A normal day for Thomas includes hitting offensive linemen twice his size or fullbacks built like MAC trucks. When he gets “free” time, he takes every opportunity he can to make a difference where it really counts, in the hearts of the children’s lives he touches on a daily basis.

    A glance at Thomas’ schedule off the field reveals that he skips out on no opportunities to help those less fortunate than him. Thomas’charitable contributions don’t stop with scheduled commitments, though.

    Thomas has been known to stop by Cardinal Glennon and St. Louis Children’s Hospital on his own volition, never asking to enter with any fanfare or press. He does it because he wants to; because he loves to see kids — who haven’t been blessed as he has — smile.

    “Winning an award would be nice, but every time I get a smile from one of those kids, I feel like I won,” Thomas said.

    It’s possible Thomas’ interest in kids is so devout and strong because it began when he was visiting Shriner’s Hospital as a high school student in California. He continued his work with children through high school and on in to college at UCLA.

    “Helping kids has always been a part of me,” Thomas said. “It makes me appreciate how blessed I am in what I am able to do.”

    Thomas is an inspiration to the children he visits and the feeling is more than mutual. Take the example of Kaycey, one of the children Thomas met on a visit. She has struggled with lung and heart transplants, but often had Thomas by her side as she battled valiantly.

    "Just seeing what she went through makes you realize you can do anything,” Thomas said. “In my eyes, there’s nothing in this world that is going to be tougher than what she went through. That really inspires me when I am tired, sitting down, hurting…I think of what she did.”

    Somewhere, even as you read this, there is a kid or two or 50 in St. Louis, thinking the exact same thing about Thomas.

  • #2
    Re: Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee Robert Thomas

    Didn't Kyle Turley win the thing?


    • #3
      Re: Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee Robert Thomas

      I think his charity work is a great thing. Notwithstanding the foregoing, i would like to see him win the London Fletcher "Human Tackle" award and actually stay healthy for consecutive games. I saw that fletcher had 21 tackles last week.

      general counsel


      • #4
        Re: Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee Robert Thomas

        If I were an NFL defensive player.... it would embarass me to win this award


        • #5
          Re: Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee Robert Thomas

          Originally posted by elAcky
          If I were an NFL defensive player.... it would embarass me to win this award
          I am now rolling my eyes to such a degree that I can actually see the inside of the back of my skull.


          • #6
            Re: Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee Robert Thomas

            you can roll your eyes at us mere mortals as much as you like, but your perfect world must surely see that Thomas is not the man to anchor our defense... the last thing we need is a charitable quite man......


            • #7
              Re: Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee Robert Thomas

              Originally posted by elAcky
              you can roll your eyes at us mere mortals as much as you like, but your perfect world must surely see that Thomas is not the man to anchor our defense... the last thing we need is a charitable quite man......
              Derrick Brooks has won this award for his charitable work. I suppose he's someone who you wouldn't have wanted on the Rams' defense, right? As for Robert Thomas... while I don't consider him the "anchor" of the defense, I think he's still a developing young player with some upside.


              • #8
                Re: Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee Robert Thomas

                This is the type of player I want on my team. Great London Fletcher comment, thankful for his time with the team nut he is gone. Let it go. Last I looked the Bills were o - 4. The way a player acts off the field, does not indicate how he will act on it. As a reference look at Issac Bruce. Enough said. :helmet:


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                  Friday, July 31, 2009

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                  Hollis Thomas has been around the NFL long enough to know what he brings to the table.

                  But as he hit free agency this offseason looking for a place to play his 14th NFL season, the decision to come to St. Louis became easy based on three simple reasons.

                  “I know the system, I know Spags and it’s home,” Thomas said with a smile Thursday morning.

                  With that, Thomas signed a one-year contract with the Rams late Wednesday afternoon to help literally and figuratively fill a major hole in the team’s defensive line.

                  Coming back to St. Louis was the easy part of the equation for Thomas. Born and raised in town, Thomas attended the Academy of Math and Science.

                  Because that school didn’t have a football team, Thomas was able to join the team at Sumner High. There, he won a pair of 4A state championships and played basketball for the academy.

                  Thomas was impressive enough on the football field to earn a scholarship to Northern Illinois in DeKalb, Ill. Rarely along the way did it occur to Thomas that he could someday land in the NFL but after a successful career for the Huskies in which was a solid contributor for three seasons, that started to become more of a reality.

                  “I wasn’t really thinking that far ahead,” Thomas said. “I was thinking about getting to college. When I got to college I was thinking about pro.”

                  Thomas went undrafted in the 1996 NFL Draft but was given a shot to compete with the Eagles for a job in Philadelphia.

                  The opportunity was all he needed. Using his undrafted status as the motivating chip on his shoulder, Thomas landed a roster spot and became an instant contributor for the Eagles.

                  Thomas played in all 16 games as a rookie with five starts and earned some All Rookie honors. So began what would become an accomplished 13-year career in which Thomas became a dominating force in the middle of the Eagles defensive line.

                  It was there, in the city of Brotherly Love that Thomas met Steve Spagnuolo, then the linebackers coach of the Eagles.

                  Spagnuolo quickly took a liking to Thomas who had a knack for getting his teammates lined up in the right spots and taking on blockers so Spagnuolo’s linebackers can run free to the ball.

                  After a three-year stop in New Orleans, Thomas found himself on the market this offseason after a triceps injury required surgery and left him unable to take a physical for the Saints.

                  Thomas spent his offseason recovering from surgery and missed all opportunities to get in some work in Organized Team Activities or minicamps.

                  Only recently did Thomas begin looking for his next destination. As he sorted out the options, he knew St. Louis was an option but he didn’t...
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                • Molotov
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                • r8rh8rmike
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                  BY JIM THOMAS
                  Wednesday, January 4, 2012

                  The St. Louis Rams have expressed interest in interviewing Todd Bowles for their head-coaching position.

                  Bowles, 48, served as interim head coach in Miami for the final three games of the 2011 season following the dismissal of Tony Sparano. The Dolphins went 2-1 in those games, defeating the New York Jets and Buffalo, and nearly upsetting New England in a 27-24 loss.

                  Bowles, a native of Elizabeth, N.J., who went to college at Temple, has been with the Dolphins since 2008 as assistant head coach/secondary coach. He has previous NFL coaching stints as an assistant for the Jets (2000), Cleveland (2001-04), and Dallas (2005-07).

                  Bowles also spent three years coaching at the college level at Morehouse and Grambling State. He spent eight seasons playing defensive back in the NFL from 1986-93 at San Francisco and Washington.

                  Along with Jeff Fisher, he's the second known candidate for the Rams' job to replace Steve Spagnuolo, who was fired Monday following a 10-38 record in three seasons.
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                  Thomas: Weinke Is High On Bradford
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                  9 hours ago • By Jim Thomas

                  No sales pitch was necessary to get new Rams quarterbacks coach Chris Weinke on board with Sam Bradford.

                  “Love him. Love him,” Weinke replied when asked about the Rams’ presumptive starting QB for 2015. “Historically, I look back at every guy that I’ve evaluated coming out of college.

                  “A few years ago when Andrew Luck came out they said who would you compare him to? And I said the closest I would see is Sam Bradford.

                  “And I say that without knowing Sam. I’d never met Sam until this process. Looking at his physical skill set. And then obviously talking to people and understanding his mental capacity and his football IQ, and all those different things.

                  “Sam by far has had the best pro day out of any guy I’ve ever evaluated from a physical standpoint. And he was coming off an injury at that point in time. So when you look at a guy who’s a pure passer of the football from a physical standpoint, he’s as good as anybody I’ve ever evaluated.”

                  Keep in mind, Weinke was talking about what he saw in Bradford as an NFL prospect when he turned pro in 2010. Not anything that’s happened in the pros. One more thing: Weinke didn’t begin evaluating college QBs in earnest until the year Bradford came out because that’s the same year Weinke became director of IMG Academy — a training/performance facility in Bradenton, Fla. So it’s not like Weinke is talking about a long period of time.

                  As part of Weinke’s interview process in St. Louis a couple of weeks ago, Weinke had dinner with Bradford. New Rams offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti also attended.

                  “I flew in on a Monday, Frank picked me up at the airport, and we went and met Sam for dinner,” Weinke saiid. “We spent about 3 ˝ hours together.”

                  Weinke approached the dinner as more of a getting-to-know-you session, as opposed to him interviewing Bradford or vice versa.

                  “It was comfortable from the get-go,” Weinke said. “What we shared at that dinner was simply, hey, who are you? Who am I? Can we work together? What would this environment look like if I was the guy in that room coaching you?”

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                  In the twilight of his NFL career, defensive tackle Hollis Thomas has come home to help stop the bleeding. The Rams hope the St. Louis native can be more than a 335-pound Band-Aid for a run defense that was gashed for a franchise-record 2,475 yards rushing last season.

                  Thomas' eyes widened and his head snapped back as if to say "wow" when he was informed of that dubious feat.

                  "That would be embarrassing to any defense, to any team as a whole," Thomas said. "I think everybody on this team has some pride. That should be our main objective — to stop the run. Because if you can't stop the run, there's no need to try to pass-rush. You have to stop the run first."

                  No one at Rams Park expects Thomas to work miracles, not at age 35 and entering his 14th NFL season. But they do expect him to help restore some of the pride in the Rams' run defense.

                  "He's always been a really good run defender," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "You know, I've been saying it to the team and saying it to everybody — it does start up front."

                  Since he entered the league in 1996 as an undrafted rookie with the Philadelphia Eagles, stopping the run has been Thomas' forte, his meal ticket. It's dirty work, physical business, but it's what Thomas does best.

                  "I like beating up on people, that's the only way I can explain it," Thomas said. "Take out the frustration. You (media) guys might write something that frustrates me, so I might take it out on the guy that's in front of me next play."

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                  "He's been away from football a little bit," Spagnuolo said. "He's probably got to knock some rust off."

                  Thomas, a squat 6-footer, has more than rust to knock off. Just before he signed a one-year contract with the Rams, his agent said Thomas weighed 340 pounds — or just five pounds off his listed roster weight.

                  "Yeah, that's ballpark," Thomas said with a grin, evoking laughter from a group of reporters.

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