X

Saints' Michael Thomas Says He's 'Trying to Top' 2019 Performance

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IISeptember 7, 2022

Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, who is returning to the field after missing nine games in 2020 and all of 2021 because of a right ankle injury that required surgery, has aspirations of "trying to top" his record-breaking 2019 performance.

ESPN's Mike Triplett provided the quotes Wednesday from Thomas, who also expressed optimism about his chances to play in the team's season opener Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons:

Mike Triplett @MikeTriplett

Saints WR Michael Thomas asked if the guy we saw in 2019 is still there:<br><br>“I’m trying to top that.”

Thomas caught an NFL-record 149 passes for 1,725 yards during the 2019 campaign. The three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro earned Offensive Player of the Year honors for his efforts. That season also capped a four-year run in which he averaged 118 receptions and 1,378 yards per season.

Thomas' ankle isn't the issue currently, however. On Aug. 21, head coach Dennis Allen announced that the wideout was "dealing with a little bit of a hamstring," per Luke Johnson of NOLA.com. No other details were provided.

Thomas appeared as a limited participant on the Saints' Wednesday injury report, with the hamstring listed as the ailment.

A healthy and productive Thomas would go a long way toward the Saints reestablishing themselves as an NFC power. New Orleans has a loaded skill-position group featuring running back Alvin Kamara, rookie wide receiver Chris Olave and veteran wideout Jarvis Landry. With Thomas in the mix, the Saints should be very difficult to stop on a weekly basis.

Thomas' 149 catches came during a season that saw him snagging passes from future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, and head coach and offensive mastermind Sean Payton was calling the plays.

Both have since retired, but Thomas' production was still sensational, and he could very well get back to consistently amassing 100 catches and 1,000 yards per season.

According to Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com, Thomas is trending in the right direction for a Sunday return:

Jeff Duncan @JeffDuncan_

I'm told Michael Thomas was present at the Saints' closed walk-through on Monday, another positive sign for his playing status on Sunday. Today's practice is the first installation of the game plan for the Falcons game, a critical one for Thomas and the Saints.

Allen was noncommittal regarding Thomas' availability, but he did offer some encouraging news, per Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football:

Nick Underhill @nick_underhill

Dennis Allen on if Mike Thomas will play this week: "We'll see, but he's progressing."

The Saints-Falcons game begins at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday from Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.