Hollis Thomas, a 12-year veteran from Northern Illinois, reached an injury settlement with the New Orleans Saints on Thursday afternoon that will eventually lead to his release from the team.
A personable, usually jovial player, started his NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles. He was traded to the Saints in 2006 and became the run stopping specialist the team was looking for, as it was revamping the roster for then-new head coach Sean Payton.
Thomas was a solid contributor in his two years of service with the team, but a torn right triceps in training camp put him out for at least two months to begin the 2008 season.
Originally, the Saints were going to wait and see how his rehabilitation was going. Then they wanted to place him on injured reserve, which would have ended his season but kept him on the roster for 2009.
Yet knowing Thomas, his heart and passion were to play and to be healthy. So it was no surprise that he did not want his season to end before it even began. Giving him a release from the team, once healthy and able to pass a physical, will give Thomas a chance to catch on with another team for the second half of the season.
There is a chance that Thomas could just resign with the Saints once he is healthy. But it's obvious the team is moving on without him, having just signed free agent Defensive Tackle Alvin McKinley this week.
Though McKinley is four years younger than Thomas, a little quicker, and has a better control of his weight, he will not be able to replace Thomas' character and charisma.
Let's all hope that Thomas will stay on with the team and be a regular contributor again. If not, another team will be getting a great locker room guy who can keep his teammates loose and happy.