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Tribal Warfare
05-04-2009, 02:45 AM
Chiefs believe Thomas can be positive influence on young players (http://www.kansascity.com/sports/chiefs/story/1176768.html)
By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star

Until the point he agreed to his new Chiefs contract, linebacker Zach Thomas wondered the same thing you’re still trying to figure out: What’s he doing in the middle of Kansas City’s rebuilding project?

Thomas, who will be 36 by the time the regular season begins, isn’t some young guy looking for a shot or even an older one in need of a final proving ground. A seven-time Pro Bowler, Thomas could have retired with a secure legacy as one of the top linebackers of his era.

His one-year stop in Dallas after 12 seasons with the Dolphins made sense for a guy of his accomplishments. Thomas, a Texas native, had done everything but play for a championship and the Cowboys had the look of a Super Bowl contender.

They wound up missing the playoffs altogether, which set Thomas to thinking as he embarked on the Kansas City portion of his career.

“Nothing is guaranteed from year to year,” he said. “You look at Dallas, where I was last year. We were guaranteed to make the Super Bowl and we didn’t even make the playoffs. So nothing is guaranteed and teams change from year to year.

“I have high expectations for this team. I’m excited to come out here and try to make a difference. I’m not coming to be a coach or help this team try to rebuild. I’m not here for that.”

Coach Todd Haley had to do a sales job on Thomas first before he came around to that line of thinking.

“I was a little skeptical coming in at first, to be honest,” Thomas said. “Once I came in and talked to (Haley) … he was straight to the point. He wanted to change the mind-set of the players. He really grabbed me right there. Once he gets this team’s mind-set changed . . .

“Everything has changed here. It all starts at the top, and I’d like to be there for that transition, that change, kind of like Miami did last year. It can be done.”

For their part, the Chiefs needed a veteran linebacker as they attempt to rebuild their defense. Thomas has played middle linebacker in the 4-3 and inside in the 3-4, so there’s a place for him whatever the Chiefs do defensively.

“I really don’t know what defense they’re putting in here,” he said. “But whatever direction they want to go is fine with me. I can play in the 3-4 or the 4-3. I like them both. I had some of my best years in the 3-4.”

The Chiefs also needed veterans to show the way to their many young players. He showed Haley immediately. Thomas agreed to terms the day before Easter and arrived in Kansas City Easter night so he could work out with the first group of players the next morning.

“That’s the type of thing a true pro does,” Haley said. “He knows how to take care of his body, how to be in shape and what it takes. That’s why a guy like that survives in the league as long as he has when nobody thought … he was taken in the fifth round. People didn’t think he was big enough or fast enough to get the job done. All he’s done is prove people wrong from the start by the way he prepares. He understands how important this part of the year is.”

The Patriots tried to sign Thomas last season when new Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli was New England’s personnel director.

“You don’t wake up and roll out of bed, like Zach Thomas, and go to seven Pro Bowls,” Pioli said. “There is a group of veteran players who are coming in here and teaching these young players how to be professionals. Obviously, we think they can play football, too. It’s not just to be mentors.”

Thomas’ desire to return to Texas, where he played in college at Texas Tech, won out.

“It was all a chance to go back to Texas,” he said. “I’m not knocking Dallas. I enjoyed my time. But my playing time voided out my contract, and they signed somebody they thought would fit better.”

Thomas is one of five over-30 veterans signed by the Chiefs this offseason. Three, including Thomas, linebacker Mike Vrabel and wide receiver Bobby Engram, are in their middle 30s.

Chairman Clark Hunt said the Chiefs weren’t changing their philosophy regarding building with young players.

“We’ve signed a few guys with a lot of experience,” Hunt said. “But we’ve also released or traded Patrick Surtain, Donnie Edwards, Damon Huard and Tony Gonzalez. So it’s been kind of a trade-out, and I’m not sure our roster won’t be about as young as it was last year once it’s all said and done.”

Reerun_KC
05-04-2009, 06:33 AM
Lets hope he can be, the dude is older that time itself in football terms...

His infulence will be more important than his lack of play on the field...

htismaqe
05-04-2009, 08:58 AM
So many people were pointing to Thomas' comments about playing Middle LB and suggesting that somehow cements the scheme we're going to run as fact. And then Thomas unloads this gem:

“I really don’t know what defense they’re putting in here,” he said. “But whatever direction they want to go is fine with me. I can play in the 3-4 or the 4-3. I like them both. I had some of my best years in the 3-4.”

Jethopper
05-04-2009, 09:00 AM
Um.....wasn't this the point?

Cormac
05-04-2009, 09:01 AM
“I really don’t know what defense they’re putting in here,” he said. “But whatever direction they want to go is fine with me. I can play in the 3-4 or the 4-3. I like them both. I had some of my best years in the 3-4.”


This is a curious quote...

Slainte
05-04-2009, 09:11 AM
Yet another great article from lazy-days Teicher.

I really don’t know what defense they’re putting in here,” he said...

Really?...

whoman69
05-04-2009, 09:17 AM
Something that Herm and CP didn't get, when you're rebuilding you can't fill all your holes if you're going young. You just can't pick up enough people in the draft to come in and start right away. We could have used someone like Zach last year. Instead we left some gaping holes and the results showed on the field.

Chiefnj2
05-04-2009, 09:52 AM
So many people were pointing to Thomas' comments about playing Middle LB and suggesting that somehow cements the scheme we're going to run as fact. And then Thomas unloads this gem:

“I really don’t know what defense they’re putting in here,” he said. “But whatever direction they want to go is fine with me. I can play in the 3-4 or the 4-3. I like them both. I had some of my best years in the 3-4.”

That's because when he was first signed he made a comment about playing in a scheme he was more comfortable with than the one he played in Dallas. I think he's been given the Pioli memo which reads "Say nothing."

htismaqe
05-04-2009, 10:02 AM
That's because when he was first signed he made a comment about playing in a scheme he was more comfortable with than the one he played in Dallas. I think he's been given the Pioli memo which reads "Say nothing."

So you're a conspiracy theorist now?

Chiefnj2
05-04-2009, 10:05 AM
So you're a conspiracy theorist now?

Yes. They are going to keep the lid on the type of offense and defense they are going to run for as long as possible.

Rooster
05-04-2009, 10:37 AM
Yes. They are going to keep the lid on the type of offense and defense they are going to run for as long as possible.

I think you're right. Information lock down at Arrowhead.

mikey23545
05-04-2009, 10:47 AM
Yes. They are going to keep the lid on the type of offense and defense they are going to run for as long as possible.

If true, how childish...

Chiefnj2
05-04-2009, 11:00 AM
If true, how childish...

Why? If they try to make trades or sign free agents or make any other moves nobody will have any additional leverage on them.

CoMoChief
05-04-2009, 11:17 AM
I can't see how Thomas is going to help at all. I bet he gets a concusion by week 4. The guy almost needs a cane hes so old.

While we're at it in terms of signing 33+ old players, lets sign Junior Seau and Donnie Edwards

beach tribe
05-04-2009, 11:23 AM
Something that Herm and CP didn't get, when you're rebuilding you can't fill all your holes if you're going young. You just can't pick up enough people in the draft to come in and start right away. We could have used someone like Zach last year. Instead we left some gaping holes and the results showed on the field.

I'm really glad Herm screwed up so bad. I would have hated for him to earn himself a contract extension. He will NEVER coach a SB team, no matter how long he does it.

MOhillbilly
05-04-2009, 12:07 PM
at 36 i doubt he will be a every down player and considered his contract as a one and done deal. hes more a package player and a locker room guy at this point. And at his age i doubt he plays/starts half the season.

BigRock
05-04-2009, 12:29 PM
So many people were pointing to Thomas' comments about playing Middle LB and suggesting that somehow cements the scheme we're going to run as fact. And then Thomas unloads this gem:

“I really don’t know what defense they’re putting in here,” he said. “But whatever direction they want to go is fine with me. I can play in the 3-4 or the 4-3. I like them both. I had some of my best years in the 3-4.”

His praise for the 3-4 just confirms those rumors in Dallas. He said late last season, and maybe after it ended, that he wasn't a fit in a 3-4 at this point of his career and he didn't think he'd be back with the Cowboys because of it.

But a lot of people thought he was just being polite and that he didn't want to return because the team has turned into a total circus.

RustShack
05-04-2009, 12:48 PM
His praise for the 3-4 just confirms those rumors in Dallas. He said late last season, and maybe after it ended, that he wasn't a fit in a 3-4 at this point of his career and he didn't think he'd be back with the Cowboys because of it.

But a lot of people thought he was just being polite and that he didn't want to return because the team has turned into a total circus.

He didn't like where he was, he would have been fine at the other ILB position which is the one he will play here. Plus we likely wont be going full out 3-4 this year either anyways.