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January 15, 2012

Bears LB, J.T. Thomas Interview

by Max Strauss

J.T. Thomas played college football at West Virginia. He played linebacker and while he was there he totaled 202 tackles, 12 pass deflections, 5.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 1 interception. He entered the 2011 NFL Draft, and was drafted in the 6th round by the Chicago Bears. He was placed on IR before the season started due to a back injury. He is planning on make a strong return to the NFL next year. This interview was conducted after the 2011 NFL season.

Go here to “LIKE” J.T. Thomas’ Facebook page.

Strauss : How do you connect with your fans?

Thomas : I usually connect with my fans through Twitter. I also have a fan page on Facebook, along with a Tumblr blog that gives a visual on the things that interest me off the field mostly.

Strauss : What was it like for you playing youth football?

Thomas : It was a great experience. It may have been the most important phase of my football career. My very first coach, Tony Tate, also played a substantial role in my training process before the NFL Draft.

Strauss : What was your high school football experience like?

Thomas : Ely High School was also an important part of why I am the player that I have become. I played with a great group of players and one of my highschool teammates, Joshua Moore, is actually my current teammate with the Chicago Bears.

Strauss : What was the transition like to WVU?

Thomas : My first year was a bit of a whirlwind and being red-shirted put me in a position that I had never been in before. I was on the bench! It proved to be one of the best decisions that I could have made during my collegiate career. Other than that, it was rather smooth.

Strauss : What was it like to have your dad play linebacker at WVU and you follow his footsteps?

Thomas : It was truly an honor. Nothing will replace the feeling of me running out of the tunnel of my last home game with my dad’s old jersey on. He’s a big reason why I decided to attend West Virginia.

Strauss : What is your favorite memory from WVU?

Thomas : Upsetting Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl of my redshirt freshman season. I made two big tackles for loss and I was probably more amped for that game more than any other game in my life.

Strauss : What was your Pro Day like?

Thomas : It was great. Things went as planned and participating in the combine gave me the option to sit out of the more strenuous drills and allowed me to concentrate on the more important drills.

Strauss : What was your draft day experience like?

Thomas : It was probably the most nervous moment of my life! The moment when my name was called will probably be engraved in my memory for the rest of my life. It was the largest, unplanned family gathering that I have ever been apart of. It felt so good to see my family have a sense of joy all at one time. It was truly amazing.

Strauss : What was your lockout experience like?

Thomas : It wasn’t too bad. I felt like there were a lot of players in way worse situations than I was. I mean at least I had an idea of where I was going and didn’t have to stress about finding a time once the lockout was over. With all that being said, it was very exhausting and nerve wrecking.

Strauss : What was a highlight of the lockout experience?

Thomas : Being able to spend time with my mom and the rest of my family back home. Being away at school for so long made it hard for me to communicate with family, so I used all the time we had to catch up with my family.

Strauss : What was your preseason experience like with the Chicago Bears?

Thomas : It was fast. I felt like we learned twenty defenses in the matter of two weeks. It was more of a challenge mentally than physically. Being that myself along with the rest of the rookie class missed out on organized team activities, it wasn’t a traditional rookie experience, but an experience, none the less.

Strauss : Do you have a favorite memory with the Chicago Bears?

Thomas : My favorite memory to date is breaking my first NFL huddle with the ones on the first day of training camp alongside Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers, Lance Briggs, and others.

Strauss : Who do you compare your game to?

Thomas : I compare my game to the DJ Williams’ and Jonathan Vilmas’ because of their athletic frame at the linebacker position.

Strauss : What’s Head Coach Lovie Smith like?

Thomas : He’s very calm and direct. He expects you to be a Chicago Bear, period.

Strauss : Who’s had the most impact on your career?

Thomas : Probably my mom in my honest opinion. It doesn’t always have to be an NFL player to make you better at the game of football. I’ve learned so much from her that we would have to do a whole different interview just for that alone.

Strauss : If you could describe yourself as any ice cream flavor, what would you be and why?

Thomas : I’d be vanilla because that’s the only ice cream flavor I like!

Strauss : For someone who wants to play in the NFL, what’s the best advice you can give them?

Thomas : The journey to the NFL can start when you are 5 or 25, there are so many ways to reach the top of the mountain that is the NFL. Keep God, Family, and Education first and everything else will fall into place.

Strauss : Thank you so much for your time J.T.

Thomas : No problem. Thank you.

->Here are the personal questions that J.T. Thomas answered.<-

Strauss : If you could meet anyone, who would it be?

Thomas : Barack Obama because he’s the President for god sakes!

Strauss : Who was your childhood idol?

Thomas : Michael Jackson was the best ever…ever!

Strauss : What is your favorite TV Show?

Thomas : 106 and Park, I really enjoy good music.

Strauss : What is your favorite movie of all time?

Thomas : Training Day because of Denzel Washington.

Strauss : What is your favorite type of pie?

Thomas : Linebackers don’t eat pie!

Strauss :  What would be your last meal on earth?

Thomas : Slushy Gatorade, Mashed Potatoes, corn, a side salad, and last but not least… Cordon Bleu!!

Strauss : Do you have a special pre-game ritual?

Thomas : Not yet.

Strauss : What is your favorite song?

Thomas : I have way too many “favorite songs” to pick one.

Thank you so much for your time.

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