DAT’s DAVIS: Michael Thomas Activated From PUP List; What It Means For Him & The Saints

NFL: New Orleans Saints Training Camp
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

In my last article, I talked about why Saints star wide receiver Michael Thomas starting training camp on the PUP list was nothing to be concerned about, and why Saints fans should actually be optimistic about where Thomas is at in terms of his recovery. Today, I’m happy to report that Michael Thomas has officially been activated off the PUP list. He is back.

Several Saints media outlets reported seeing Thomas practicing with the Saints when the team began its walkthrough. NOF’s Nick Underhill reported, “Thomas had suddenly emerged, lined up on the left side of the field, where he ran downfield and caught a pass from quarterback Jameis Winston. After he pulled it in, Thomas flipped the ball to safety Marcus Maye, did his signature biceps flex and ran back to the huddle.”

After nearly two years of climbing back from injury, Thomas spoke with the media after practice concluded and mentioned how emotional the feeling was for him. “Man, I’m kind of (at a) loss for words. I didn’t want to come up here and get emotional or anything, but it was a blessing to be back out there with the guys.”

When asked about the specifics of his ankle injury, and the decision to initially not have surgery, Thomas said that it was due to receiving two different opinions from two different doctors and opted not try surgery first. Thomas had surgery in June of 2021 after he reported to the team facility and was still injured.

Thomas still believes that he can be the elite receiver he was before his injury setback.

“I’m very confident. Very confident. I mean even the year that I played, I was playing injured, and I was still kind of helping this team win games and move the chains. And I was clearly on one ankle. My ankle was the same as when I had to go get the surgery. It was the same injury already early in the season, but I played on it. So, I pushed through that. And I’m just happy to be trending now in the right direction and handling my business.”

Thomas made some good points during his answer; the receiver netted 37 receptions for 343 receiving yards over a four game stretch where he was playing while injured. Thomas put together two 100+ yard games during that stretch, two 50+ yard games, and a 73-yard performance against the Chicago Bears in the 2020 Wild Card Round.

Known well for his presence on social media, Thomas cemented his return by tweeting, “Y’all favorite fantasy doctor lied #unfollow”. What does this mean for the New Orleans Saints offense? It means that they now have weapons to attack every area of the field with Thomas and Jarvis Landry working the short-intermediate range, and Deonte Harty (formerly known as Deonte Harris) and 2022 1st-round pick Chris Olave working the intermediate-deep range. The questions surrounding quarterback Jameis Winston and his return from his ACL injury still remain, along with needing to prove that the efficiency he displayed in 2021 before injury was not a one-time only deal with former Head Coach Sean Payton.

Still, the excitement regarding Thomas’s return cannot be understated. His presence on the field alone will open up opportunities for other Saints receivers due to him commanding so much attention alone.