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Inside the Helmet: Donald Thomas

Posted Jun 20, 2012

Get to know Patriots guard Donald Thomas in our latest installment of Inside the Helmet.

Donald Thomas joined the Patriots last season after spending time with the Miami Dolphins and Detriot Lions to start his career.  An offensive lineman entering his fifth NFL season, Thomas is a native of New Haven, Conn. and a graduate of the University of Connecticut.  In 2011,  he appeared in 10 games for the Patriots with one start at left guard.

What is your earliest football memory?
Well, I really didn't start playing football until I got to college ... but I remember, back when I was five years old, my dad bought me one of those little Chicago Bears kids uniform sets, with the shoulder pads and plastic helmet. I would run around the field, pretend I was a running back.  

When did you start playing organized football?
My sophomore year in college.

Why the long wait?
My mom wouldn't let me do it. I tried every year to play football, but she always had an excuse.  So, I played baseball and basketball. Then, when she finally was going to let me play, I weighed too much for Pop Warner. Then went to high school and we didn't have a football team.

So how did you get into football in college?
My freshman year, I saw the football team around campus and thought, 'I'm just as big as some of these guys.' After their season was over, I was playing basketball in the gym, they saw me and said, 'You go to school here?' I was like, 'Yeah.' They were like, 'Why don't you play football?' And I said, 'I don't know.' They said, 'You should probably play.' I went home for Christmas break, thought about it, and then came back to school and started working out every day, lifting weights, running. Eventually, I just walked into the football office, told them I wanted to play and they set up a little combine workout. I was a d-tackle at first, right before the spring game. They put me on the roster, I worked out with the team all summer, took a couple classes. My sophomore year I redshirted. Junior year I played kickoff return, set the wedge. My senior year, all I did was set the wedge again. Then the coach asked me to come back for my fifth year and I played guard the whole year. And got drafted. I really only played 12 games at guard in college.

That's pretty incredible.
Yeah, a lot of people don't even know it.

What was your first-ever job?
I worked at Blockbuster. I applied a week before I turned 16 and got hired two weeks later. It was great. I got to take home free movies every day, free video games … it was the best job ever. Everything was free in the store.

How about your first car?
I had a 1997 Dodge Neon. Two-door. Green. Like a forest, wintergreen. Dark green.

If you could pick any talent that you don't have right now – anything at all – what would you want to do?
I want to be able to sing. Yeah…

If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be?
The President. I'd want to see how much power you really have. But it seems like you would go grey doing that.