I’ll be honest, I had no idea who Mike Thomas was before Sunday. Now he’ll be on every 2010 NFL highlight film that’s ever created. The former Arizona wide receiver was on the other end of David Garrard’s Hail Mary pass that beat the Houston Texans on the final play on Sunday.
It’s a play that seemingly almost never works, and probably shouldn’t have when the Texans’ defensive back batted the ball down. But the batted ball fell right into the arms of Thomas at the 1-yard line and Thomas hopped into the end zone for a touchdown.
I should have known who Mike Thomas was before this. I know him now. And after the personality he shows in the following interview, I’m a fan.
Mike Thomas joined ESPN Radio Los Angeles with Andrew Siciliano and Mychal Thompson to discuss what he was thinking when the Hail Mary play was in progress, if he’d caught a Hail Mary before, why he was shocked when the ball came his way, playing against wide receiver great Andre Johnson, the play earlier in Sunday’s game that appeared to be just like Calvin Johnson’s Week 1 debacle and his preference on getting hit high or low.
On what he was thinking when the ball was in the air:
“Let’s go to overtime.”
On whether he’d ever caught a Hail Mary before:
“Man, never. I’ve never even caught a Hail Mary, but to catch a Hail Mary to end the game, words can’t describe that kind of feeling. The Jaguars, we’ll take those victories any time we can get them. We’ll take a W any way we can get it.”
On whether he was shocked when the ball came his way:
“I was just ecstatic, man, I couldn’t believe it. I seen the whole thing kind of transforming. I seen the ball hit his hands and he batted it and then it just came right to me. It was surreal, man, it was definitely surreal. … I was in shock. I didn’t know, I was like, ‘What am I supposed to do with this thing. Let me get on in to this end zone.'”
On what he saw in playing against Andre Johnson:
“You can tell what kind of work and preparation he puts in to his own product, which is himself. You can see how much he cares about the game. I think in Andre you have an all-around receiver. You have a guy that’s great hands, you have a guy that runs great routes, you have a guy that is big, nice size. … You also have a guy that can run and is pretty quick and can accelerate well. You have a guy that possesses all the intangibles to be a great receiver and some say he is the best receiver in our league today. You definitely have to tip your hat off to him and congratulate him on the work that he’s doing. In this league, we all watch each other, no matter what anybody says. … You take things that he does because he is considered great. You watch him and you study him and you try to bring some of that to your own game.”
On the Kevin Walter play in Sunday’s game that appeared to look like the Calvin Johnson no-catch from Week 1 but was ruled a catch:
“It was a tricky one because of the whole Calvin Johnson situation. To me, those two plays were very similar. Both guys possessed the ball and as they’re getting up or trying to show the ball, the ball slips out. One stays and one doesn’t stay. My thing is, how do you really differentiate the two? Both were very similar to me. As a receiver, you always expect that to be a catch and the rules just changed recently, so any other time that would’ve been a catch besides this year. I think that’s a rule that’s consistently going to become a problem and I think they’re supposed to be looking at it this offseason.”
On whether he’d rather get hit high or low going over the middle:
“That is a tough one. Preferably, because of my stature, I’d probably say getting hit lower. I feel like I’ve got pretty thick legs, I’ve got a pretty thick little body. I can absorb some of those hits that come a little lower.”
Listen to Mike Thomas on ESPN Radio Los Angeles here (interview begins at 12:30 mark)