After a career season with the New York Jets and a switch from defensive end to linebacker, Bryan Thomas predicts the Jets will return to the playoffs. No. 99 talked to the Resident about what it’s like to sack Tom Brady and how to build his ultimate dream team.—Heather Corcoran
First of all, good luck with the new season. What is the team looking like this year?
BT: We look really good. We will have a good season. We are building on last season’s success and hope to make it further in the playoffs this year.
Last year is considered by many to be your breakout season; was there a definite moment that you consider a breakthrough?
BT: My defining moment was when I sacked Tom Brady against the Patriots in New England last year when we beat the Patriots. Our defense got on a roll and we started playing great. I pressured the quarterback, got sacks and our team played great and we made the playoffs.
Some people think that you’re underrated. Do you?
BT: I like being a little under the radar. It makes me work harder.
You are also active off the field; could you tell me a little bit about Computers for Youth? What is the importance of offering children computers in the home?
BT: Learning doesn’t stop once kids are let out of school in the afternoons. A healthy home learning environment has a great impact on a kid’s academic successes and computers are a critical part of that setting.
How did you become involved in the project?
BT: I have two kids of my own and watching them grow up has made me realize that, as a parent, I am responsible for giving them the tools they need to ensure life-long successes. A lot of parents out there can’t provide their kids with those resources and I want to help change that. I met Elisabeth Stock, founder of Computers for Youth, and the rest is history.
How can people become more involved in CFY?
BT: Check out their Web site, www.cfy.org. There are lots of ways to get involved, from volunteer opportunities to corporate partnerships.
Could you tell me a little bit about the Perfect Attendance Team?
BT: In everything I do, whether it is with my team, my family or my community, I always give 100 percent. Without that kind of commitment, you aren’t going to achieve your goals. I want to acknowledge and reward the students out there that are giving that kind of effort to their education and that is what the Perfect Attendance Team does. I am going to work with CFY on identifying kids that have perfect attendance at school in the tri-state area and reward them and their families with great Jets experiences. Hopefully they will realize that their hard work isn’t going unnoticed and that they have a very bright future ahead of them.
Recently, some athletes have made the news for the wrong reasons. Do you think athletes are role models?
BT: I do think athletes are role models and that is not something that should never been taken lightly. The attributes – dedication, diligence, selflessness and intelligence – that are required to be a professional athlete are all admirable qualities and it is important to let those behaviors shine. Kids are impressionable and athletes need to be aware and respectful of that. I often ask myself, “What would my son think?” If more athletes think like this we might not have as many problems.
Who would be on your ultimate dream team?
BT: Joe Namath, Jerome Bettis, Lawrence Taylor, Emmitt Smith, Al Toon, Bo Jackson, Mark Gastineau, Joe Klecko and Marty Lyons.
Bryan Thomas and the New York Jets take on the New York Giants on Oct. 7 at Giants Stadium.