With the No. 119 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Redskins selected Phillip Thomas out of Fresno State. Here's a gallery of his collegiate career.
Redskins safety Phillip Thomas said there wasn't any hesitation Monday night vs. the Cleveland Browns, when he returned to game action for the first time since a Lisfranc tear in his foot kept him out of his entire rookie season.
His only issue was getting his feet wet again after not playing since Week 1 of the 2013 preseason. "There wasn't any worry about my foot," Thomas said. "I just felt rusty. I had been out for a whole year. Haven't played football, haven't been in live action like that for a while, so I just felt a little rusty and a little slower on my reads and everything, but it had nothing to do with my injury."
The injury, suffered in the first quarter of last season's preseason game against the Tennessee Titans, was a significant blow for the Redskins' defense, as the then-rookie had climbed to the top of the team's unofficial depth chart and looked ready to seize a significant role in the defensive backfield.
But, on a routine tackle of running back Shonn Greene, Thomas went down and was done for the season.
Admitting that he knew little about what Lisfranc (a tear in the main ligament in the middle of the foot) was at the time of his injury, he explained that the severity of his tear didn't impact his rehab schedule.
"The doctors said it's a real tricky injury and that it takes a lot of time and sometimes people don't come back as explosive as they were before," Thomas said. "But in my case it wasn't a very serious thing. It's a serious injury but mine wasn't as serious as some cases, so I was able to rehab and get back to normal."
His rehab didn't involve anything specific -- just a "take it one day at a time" mentality.
"It's like any other foot injury," Thomas said. "A lot of flexibility, massages, and ice -- just normal rehab thing every day.
"When it was time to run, time to actually be able to stand on it and perform, it came down to just do as much as you can and perform to the best of your ability."
On the field, when Thomas is performing at a level he's capable of, he's a menace to opposing offenses.
As a senior at Fresno State, Thomas logged an NCAA-high eight interceptions – earning him unanimous first-team All-American honors.
Drafted by the Redskins in the fourth-round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Thomas said that even though he missed his rookie season, he's glad that the defensive scheme will be the same under defensive coordinator Jim Haslett from a year ago.
"It's very comforting to have the same system," Thomas said. "I don't have to learn a totally new defense, totally new terminology and everything like that. It's just letting me come into this year a little more comfortable, little bit more confident within my reads and my calls."
And while out, he spent time immersing himself in the playbook so that when his health was back to full strength, there wouldn't be any concerns about his understanding of certain play calls.
He gets another chance to further his development and recovery tonight vs. the Ravens.
"I definitely was able to look at my playbook and was able to just learn the ins and outs of it," he said. "Knowing those things helps you with your communication, and there's just no doubt when I make a call out there now."