Zach Thomas’ career is an inspiration
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Zach Thomas joked that he can walk into a Publix and not get recognized because he looks just like every other man.
While I don’t really believe him, I get the point he’s trying to make.
Miami Dolphins fans loved Thomas not just because he made darn near every tackle, but because this 5-foot-11, 240 pound guy was every man.
Zach Thomas was the classic underdog, the guy you initially counted out who rose to great heights. He exceeded every expectation, and usually rose to the occasion.
Thomas will be the first to admit he wasn’t blessed with great athletic ability. But his career serves as proof that drive, effort, commitment, dedication, and work ethic can make you a perennial Pro Bowler, or a success in any field.
That’s why he was always an inspiration throughout the country, and will continue to be in South Florida despite retirement.
“I remember when Zach first showed up as a rookie. I thought that he and Larry Izzo would make pretty good special teams players. I was right about Larry, but wrong about Zach,” Dan Marino said. “He would up being much better than that. He used his determination, grit, and love for the game to become one of the best players on our team.
“He was a great teammate – he never took a play off, not even at practice – and his enthusiasm for the sport was contagious throughout the locker room. I’m glad I got a chance to play with him, and I’m happy that he’s able to retire as a member of the team he cared so much about.”
During his retirement ceremony Thomas told a story about his days of working out at Gold’s Gym early in his career. Guys would be at the gym benching more than him, and he knew in their mind they were saying “I can be a Miami Dolphin.”
“I was the underdog,” he said. I played a game and got paid for it. I was grateful…. I cherished my moments I had, even when I was sore and tired.”
Thomas said when the thought came to his mind that he didn’t want to go to work on any given day (and after losses he admitted it was hard) he’d remind himself that “there are so many people who wanted to trade places with you.”
That’s all he needed to put himself into fifth gear again, which is the speed he played the game at for 14 seasons.
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* My favorite Zach Thomas story involves the time he was standing outside a South Beach club as a rookie and Atlanta Braves pitcher Tom Glavine tossed his car keys to Thomas. Thinking he was parking cars.
* Or maybe it was the time he was getting a haircut with fellow rookie Larry Izzo and the barber - yes, it was an old-time barber - asked what high school they played for.