Signed by the Redskins late in the season, Pierre Thomas said he'd like to return to Washington in 2016 and help build off an NFC East-winning season.
In the past year, Pierre Thomas has been on three different NFL teams. Prior to joining the Redskins in Week 14, he saw his first action of the 2015 season when he spent just one week with the San Francisco 49ers. Thomas, who initially entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2007, had spent eight seasons with the New Orleans Saints before being released by the team in March.
During this transitional period in his career, Thomas admitted that staying disciplined and focused wasn't always easy.
"It's very difficult because you're on your own, you don't have anybody really pushing you." Thomas said. "I knew what it took to get to this level. I worked my butt of before…It's like riding a bike, you never forget, you've just got to go out there and do it. And I had friends and family members that were always in my ear pushing me. I didn't need another coach. I knew what I needed to do. I knew what it took to get back into this league and keep myself in condition and in shape. And when I got that call, I was just ready."
Despite a lack of stability recently, Thomas was excited to join the Redskins and contribute positively right away both on and off the field.
"You know, when I got the call I didn't really know what to expect with this team," he said. "I knew he was going in the right direction, but I just didn't know what to expect. Coming in with a new group of guys, learning a new offense, new coaching staff, and just that short time of that fist week I got here. It was on a Thursday, within the next day, I got in on a Thursday, it was a Friday, and I knew I landed on a good team. I even called my friends and family back home and said 'hey, these boys have a chance to be something great.'"
Thomas said he wished he "could have gotten on this team earlier just to give out my leadership, my understanding of the game."
"But these guys told me that they are happy to have me, and that means a lot to me," he continued.
Could Thomas' quick impact land him a spot on the Redskins' 2016 offseason roster? The veteran admits he's "not sure" what the future holds for him, but if it includes a shot to return to D.C., then he'd be all for it.
"I mean I'm still going to continue to work out and hopefully I do get a call back from this organization because I feel like I'm a good fit here," Thomas said. "I feel like I can help out and I mean I like this organization, I like this team, I like the coaching staff, you know, they gave me a chance, they believed that I still had talent left and I wanted to show everybody. The Washington Redskins gave me that opportunity."
'It's a brotherhood'
Thomas was proud of the way that the Redskins played on the field, but also talked about the culture in the locker room that was critical to the team's success.
"It's a brotherhood," he said. "These guys pull for one another, I mean you guys aren't around, you don't hear what's going on, but I hear these guys talk and they want to win, they want to be great, they want to show their fans, you know, they want to bring their fans a championship. I mean the attitude, you guys don't see it too often, these guys are focused. They have fun when they can, but all that fun, it turns into focus. It's just great attitude around this locker room and I want to be a part of that again and hopefully I can."
The Washington Redskins on Friday announced the signing of nine-year veteran running back Pierre Thomas. Check out highlights from his career.
The Illinois product only added to his flavor of veteran leadership to the Redskins locker room this season. He spoke about an impromptu speech that he gave the team prior to its Wild Card Round playoff matchup against the Green Bay Packers. But before he was able to stand in front of his team and give a pregame pep talk, he felt as though he needed to earn his teammates respect so his words would be well received.
"I mean I didn't plan it, it was just at the right moment," Thomas said. "It was just us players, just talking amongst each other, just telling us how important this season was, and it was a lot of the veterans talking up, and some of the young guys said something, but it was a lot of veterans standing up and telling these guys what it takes, and they need to hear it. And I thought that was just my perfect opportunity to come in and show it. I had to earn their respect first , I couldn't say it as soon as I got here. I had to earn their respect and I felt like as the weeks went on, they kept giving me some respect, giving me respect, and I thought that 'hey, this is my perfect opportunity to say something.'"
Even though Thomas was happy with his play on the field — he had 143 total yards, and was a huge factor running and catching the ball in the team's Week 16, division-clinching victory over the Philadelphia Eagles — he felt as though he could have contributed more to the team's success.
"I mean the coaches told me that I did a great job and that makes me feel good, but as a player you always think you can do a little bit more and I'm going to work on a lot more things in the offseason to get myself better," he said. "Hopefully I can come into this thing early and not in the middle of the season like I did this year."