• Brian L. Barefield

Bringing that same energy

Photo Credit/Houston Texans

There is just something different about Houston Texans safety, Michael Thomas. Spend five minutes around him and you can’t help but to recognize his southern hospitality and energy. Thomas met with the media on Saturday after training camp practice and brought the same fervor and tenacity that he brings to the field as he talked about the social injustice issues that surround our society.

“Any time you can be intentional and you can be very specific about what your plans are, anybody who is opposed or might not truly understand why you are fighting for social justice, why you’re saying black lives matter, why you’re taking a knee, why you’re taking a stance against racism and inequalities – it takes away their power,” said Thomas when asked about the teams plan of action. “It takes away their argument against you because you’re like ‘no, this is what I ‘m trying to change, and this is why.”

Thomas, a native Houstonian who graduated from Aldine Nimitz High School before attending Stanford University is the 2020 Ira. D Howell Award winner. That prestigious award was given to him for his extraordinary commitment to social justice, community organizing, and public service in a local, national, and/or global context.

The undrafted safety who was signed to the San Francisco 49ers as a practice squad member, was asked if he would use his skills as an organizer to help bring the other Houston sports franchises [Rockets and Astros] together to help push the social injustice initiative in Houston.

“Oh, absolutely, and I think that would be powerful,” Thomas said. “The more we come together, the more specific we can be about exactly what we’re trying to fight for and like you said, we use our star power to come together to try to get change here in Houston, Texas and then go federally. That’s how you make real change because – unfortunately, what we’ve seen is the more star power or celebrities lend their voices, lend their platforms to these issues, the more things kind of get done faster.”

On the field what the Texans are getting from the former New York Giants player who played in all 16 games last season for the Giants and has been outstanding on special teams, which is one of head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien’s criteria when evaluating free agents.

“This is by far the most talented special teams’ unit I’ve ever been a part of,” Thomas said. “I’ve been a part of some units that have done great things in the NFL, been number one in a couple units, but not as great in some other ones. When I look at this unit, I just think about the guys I’m going to be lining up next to and what they’ve already accomplished, and most of them are super young. I’m finally at a point again in my career where I feel like I have to go earn my stripes again and go prove myself because these dudes perform at such a high level.”

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