Saints Rumors: Michael Thomas Ignored Team's Calls for 3 Months During Offseason

Adam WellsAugust 7, 2021

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 13: Michael Thomas #13 of the New Orleans Saints looks on against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 13, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton apparently had good reason to be frustrated by Michael Thomas' decision to wait until June before having ankle surgery. 

Per Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune, Thomas ignored "multiple calls" from Saints coaches for three months after the 2020 season concluded. 

Duncan noted at the end of last season, Saints medical personnel advised Thomas "to undergo surgery to repair ligament damage" in the joint of his ankle that caused him problems. 

Thomas decided to get a second opinion from a doctor who suggested a "conservative approach that would allow the injury to heal on its own through rehab and therapy."

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported on July 23 that Thomas' recommended recovery timeline of four months is expected to keep him out for at least a portion of the regular season. 

A four-month recovery period would put Thomas on track to be 100 percent in October. 

When the Saints arrived at training camp last week, Payton was openly frustrated about the situation with his star wide receiver. 

“It appears we’re going to have to spend some time without him,” Payton told reporters on July 28. “It’s disappointing. We would have liked that to have happened earlier. And quite honestly, it should have. I’m going to leave it at that.”

Thomas suffered a high ankle sprain in the fourth quarter of the Saints' Week 1 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He missed the next six games before returning in Week 9. 

After playing in six straight games from Weeks 9-14, Thomas finished the regular season on injured reserve because of ongoing ankle problems. The three-time Pro Bowler did return for the playoffs, catching five passes for 73 yards and one touchdown in the NFC Wild Card Round against the Chicago Bears. 

Thomas was held without a catch in New Orleans' NFC Divisional Round loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

There are many questions about what the Saints offense will look like in 2021 with either Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill set to become the starting quarterback after Drew Brees retired during the offseason. 

Thomas was one of the most reliable and productive receivers in the NFL from 2016-19. The Ohio State alum averaged 151 targets, 118 receptions, 1,378 yards and eight touchdowns during that four-season span. 

The Saints need that version of Thomas if they hope to challenge the defending Super Bowl champion Bucs in the NFC South.