JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Usually when you enter your 5th year in the NFL, you aren't known as a veteran. That is not the case with Julius Thomas and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
After coming in as a free agent this season, Julius Thomas said that part of the reason he came to Jacksonville was an opportunity to thrive in a position that he has never played; veteran leader.
"Most of my career I was looking up to a lot of guys that will be in the Hall of Fame one day," Thomas said. "That was greatly appreciated and I was happy for that. Some great players helped me understand the game and just life in general and I want to be able to be that for anybody here that I can."
With the Jaguars being the youngest team in the NFL last season, veteran leadership is not easy to come by. That is why head coach Gus Bradley is looking forward to seeing his new tight end embrace his new role. "I love his attitude," said Bradley. "I think if there's a guy that outside of guys like Marcedes (Lewis) and Blake (Bortles) that do a good job with leadership, I feel Julius Thomas has a strong sense of leadership."
Also part of Thomas' role with the team is something that is more familiar with him; catching touchdowns. Thomas spent part of his offseason in California catching passes from Blake Bortles trying to establish chemistry between themselves. The Jaguars new tight end says it takes thousands of passes between a quarterback and a receiver to establish the chemistry that you are looking for, but they are on their way.
"It's mostly me finding out where he likes to place the ball, what he is looking at, and getting into his mind so to speak."
You would think being a pro-bowler and all-pro in the NFL, it would be Thomas being the one to adjust to, but he says that it is the contrary. It is up to the new free agent signing to get on the same page as his quarterback. "I go the way he wants me to go," said Thomas. "I need to get on Blake's page. Whatever he expects, that's what I am going to do. He's the quarterback, he's the one in control of that huddle and since I like catching passes, I am going to make sure I do exactly what he wants."
The Jaguars return to the Florida Blue practice fields tomorrow before taking Friday , Saturday and Sunday before returning Monday, June 1st.