Thomas, who once was a staple in the Giants secondary before the ACL injuries, has barely been back healthy long enough for a cup of coffee before slipping up—figuratively.
"I think he has one more year in him,” Thomas said. “We have a great nucleus of guys, and I don’t think he wants to give that up. That passion is still burning within him. . . . So I think he wants to go out on top."
Like any confused member of the media or fanbase, your mind immediately starts racing. Why would TT say this? Why is he breaking this news? Why now? Does he know something we don't know?
For the brief moment following Thomas' out-of-the-blue comments—no pun intended—the Giants were grabbing the back pages over their little brother, the New York Jets.
That in itself made things seem like a bizarre offseason.
Because Coughlin has shown zero signs of slowing down or ever giving any indication that 2013 would be it for him, the Giants head coach quickly dispelled the rumor that Thomas proliferated.
"I don’t even know how a young man would come [to making] that statement,” Coughlin said at a news conference during the NFL scouting combine. “I approach each year the way I’ve always approached them. The energy’s flowing good. I’m excited about it, and I’m looking forward to this offseason and getting our football team together again. Maybe at some point, I’ll get the message. But it certainly isn’t right now."
Not exactly a topic Coughlin envisioned having to address while in Indianapolis scouting at the NFL Combine.
You can bet that Coughlin—who turns 67 in August—has more conviction, fight and smarts than most of the NFL coaches in the game today.
That "young man" Coughlin callously referred to isn't in any position to stir the pot—in spite of whatever intent he had—as Thomas was fortunate enough to get a restructured one-year deal following his third severe ACL injury of his career.
In his pull-no-punches way, the two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach put to bed any premature retirement talk.
"Ask me that next year,” Coughlin said. “Next year is 2013 for me, and I’m geared up for that. Let’s go do that, then we’ll talk about whatever else. I’ve got two years on this contract. I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about it. I’ve got goals and things I want to get done ... as part of this great New York Giants organization."
After the 2011-12 Giants won Super Bowl XLVI, people were ready to build a statue of Coughlin and fast track him the to Hall of Fame.
As the ball didn't bounce their way and Big Blue missed the playoffs in 2012-13, Coughlin suddenly is getting too old for this stuff.
Coughlin is the consummate motivator, and if he wanted to "go out on top" after 2013, he certainly wouldn't let some "young man" leak it out in late February.
Don't be so quick to toss aside the Coughlin era and usher in Bill Cower or Jon Gruden because you think they have the personality to coach in New York.
The man has earned his due, maybe that statue and Hall of Fame bust too.