Thomas not surprised by Colts QB’s decision

The Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants defensive back Michael Thomas wasn’t caught off guard by Andrew Luck’s stunning retirement this weekend.

The two have been friends for the past 15 years. It started as opponents on the football field in high school in Houston and continued as teammates at Stanford, and well beyond that.

They have discussed more than football in recent years. So while the announcement of Luck’s retirement on Saturday night was surprising, Thomas said he was aware the Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback was mulling walking away from the game.

“I was just calling him and texting him, that’s my brother, grew up playing against him in high school, been knowing him since I was 14-years-old,” Thomas said Sunday after practice. “It’s a personal issue, obviously. I am not going to disclose what me and him talked about personally but I support him. He had a great ride and if that’s the decision he makes it is probably for a good reason.”

Thomas would not say what he and Luck said, but insisted the decision by Luck was in the best interest of the 29-year-old and his family.

If there was anything that bothered Thomas, it was seeing Colts’ fans boo Luck as he walked off the field after they became aware of the retirement during Indianapolis’ 27-17 loss to the Bears.

Luck did not play in the preseason.

“Fans need to understand that man, this game, as physical as it is, is taxing on everybody’s body,” Thomas said. “I don’t care if they think it’s a quarterback, they are not taking it. No, they are taking punishment. That’s the reason he has been dealing with injuries before. Any player, when they decide they have given this game all they could and they are going to step away from it for a personal reasons, whet ever it is, to boo him, that’s not right regardless of if they think it’s premature or too early for their liking. That’s not fair.”

A member of the NFLPA’s executive committee, Thomas was happy to see Luck walk away on his own terms, saying most players don’t get to do that.

“You’ve done it right if you felt you have given this game everything you could,” Thomas said. “You start looking at your kids. You start looking at your family, how much you’ve sacrificed, how much they’ve sacrificed and the time you have missed away from them. (If) Your body and your physical and mental health and safety is not there and you want step away from the game to spend more time with them and give time back to them, that’s to each man.”

Atlanta Falcons

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — With one game left in the preseason, the Atlanta Falcons have brought in former Pro Bowler Blair Walsh to compete for their kicking job.

Walsh was at practice Sunday and will get a shot at beating out Giorgio Tavecchio, who has made only four of eight field goal attempts during the preseason.

The Falcons (0-4) travel to Jacksonville for their final exhibition game Thursday night.

The 29-year-old Walsh attended Georgia and was a sixth-round pick of Minnesota in 2012. He made the Pro Bowl during his rookie season and connected on 24 field goals of at least 50 yards during five years with the Vikings, but his career went sideways after he missed a 27-yard field goal attempt with 22 seconds remaining that would’ve won a playoff game vs. Seattle during the 2015 season.

Oakland Raiders

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders have placed running back Doug Martin on injured reserve and signed former Los Angeles Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget.

The team also announced Sunday it has signed linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams and released long snapper Andrew DePaola.

The nature of Martin’s injury was not immediately known, but he was used sparingly in the preseason after leading the Raiders with 723 yards rushing last year. The 30-year-old Martin spent his first six NFL seasons with Tampa Bay before signing with Oakland last offseason.

He re-signed with the Raiders in May after Isaiah Crowell was lost for the season with a knee injury.

Washington Redskins

ASHBURN, Va. — Case Keenum, Colt McCoy and Dwayne Haskins entered training camp in consideration for the Washington Redskins’ starting quarterback job.

Keenum won the job, with coach Jay Gruden saying Sunday the veteran would start Week 1 at the Philadelphia Eagles.

It’s not that Keenum dominated during his first offseason, training camp and preseason games with Washington. With McCoy’s lingering leg injury and Haskins adjusting to the NFL game, Keenum’s experience — and availability — won out.

Miami Dolphins

MIAMI — Veteran safety T.J. McDonald, who started 14 games for the Miami Dolphins last season, has been released by the team.

McDonald, a six-year veteran with 75 career starts, was due to make $5 million this year. He spent two seasons with the Dolphins but fell behind safeties Reshad Jones and Bobby McCain on the depth chart this summer under new coach Brian Flores.

Last year McDonald ranked third on the team with 86 tackles and tied for second with three interceptions.

New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Demaryius Thomas says he’s close. He can feel it.

“I can feel it certain days and certain days I can’t,” the veteran wide receiver said Sunday. “It’s a thing that I feel when I play. I’ve still got it. I know I’ve got it. I’ve touched it here, but other days it bothers me.”

Thomas, entering his 10th NFL season but first with the New England Patriots, might be another tantalizing option for veteran quarterback Tom Brady if he is fully recovered from the second Achilles’ tendon injury of his career. But Thomas was activated from the physically unable to perform list only a week ago, and with the preseason finale against the New York Giants on Thursday looming in the immediate future, time is short for him to prove his worth amid a position group seemingly laden with talent.

“I’m a little rusty, but that’s what it’s about,” Thomas said. “Training camp is about trying to put out my best ball and see what I can do to help the squad.”

Thomas posted five consecutive seasons in a row with 1,000 or more receiving yards among his eight-plus years with the Denver Broncos. But he was dealt to the Houston Texans midway through the 2018 season and finished the year with his lowest statistical totals since 2011, catching 59 passes for 677 yards and scoring five touchdowns before suffering the Achilles’ injury late in the season.

The Patriots signed him to a one-year, $2.9 million contract in April, with only $150,000 in guaranteed money given the severity of his injury. But he was deemed ready to practice last week, although he did not see action in the Patriots’ 10-3 victory Thursday over the Carolina Panthers.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press.