NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Terrell Thomas has not a single regret.
After overcoming three ACL reconstructions during his time in college and the pros, the veteran defensive back retired from the NFL on Thursday, the Giants announced on their website.
Thomas, who was drafted in the second round of the 2008 draft out of USC, missed both the 2011 and 2012 seasons with separate injuries to his right knee. The Giants stuck by him and he paid them back by playing in all 16 games in 2013, finishing with 67 tackles, an interception and a sack.
But the Giants chose not to re-sign Thomas that offseason and he did not play in 2014. He said he expected to be viewed as a top-tier free agent and did get a lot of interest league-wide, but doctors would not approve his knee. He said after a while he just came to the realization that he’d played his game.
“Knowing the game of football, being 29 with three ACL (injuries), I just figured my time is short. I can keep chasing a dream, but I was blessed to be able to come back and play that one year,” Thomas told the Giants’ website. “To be able to show my family and fans, my daughter and myself that I worked hard enough to overcome some significant injuries and I became the second player in NFL history to come back from three ACLs. I didn’t play with a brace.
“I am proud of my accomplishments. I have been through a lot and I overcame it. I am a smart dude and I am not going to chase football. Football is not chasing me. I feel like my time is over,” Thomas added. “I was blessed enough to play six years in the NFL. I lived my dream, and now it is time for the next chapter of my life.”
Thomas’ determination to get back to the Giants following his third knee injury was not lost on general manager Jerry Reese.
“Terrell was smart and tough and a very good player,” Reese said. “He quickly became a ‘pro’s pro’ during his time with the Giants.”
Thomas’ best years came in 2009 and 2010 when he started every game and led the Giants in tackles, interceptions and passes defensed each season. He also played a role in the Giants’ victory in Super Bowl XLVI.
“Terrell was a very unique defensive corner,” Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said. “He had outstanding cover skills, he was physical and would tackle and you could blitz him from the outside. He was a very smart player and devoted to the game. He took great pride in being a physical corner, and frankly, before the injuries, we thought we had a very good corner for a long time.”
Thomas said his years with Big Blue helped prepare him for whatever comes next.
“The biggest thing is what the organization taught me. Coach Coughlin taught me about integrity and doing what you say you are going to do. It goes a long way in life, and I think that has really prepared me for my next chapter in life. That is why I am so honored to retire a Giant, more importantly, why I wanted to,” Thomas said.