I want to bring to you the story of an athlete, one who has endured a great amount of adversity both during and after football season. I am Terrell Thomas, and I hope that this blog gives you great insight into my life and career.
First, I would like to thank The Huffington Post for allowing me to use their platform to tell my story.
Most importantly, thank you to the man above -- I wouldn't have made it without Him. To my family, friends, doctors, trainers, and the entire New York Giants organization, none of this would be possible without them, thank you. Each of these people and organizations have motivated me in some way along my journey to recover from my 2nd ACL injury in the NFL. I am very thankful for everyone who has been there and who have never given up on me.
Now, let's get this out of the way... it feels great to be playing football again after two years.
It's not by mistake that, as my mom would say, I didn't play football for 980 days and I played in my first game again on September 8. God has a plan for all of us. As you follow me along on this journey, the 2013 season, you will get a glimpse of my faith and God's work through me.
Let's take it back to Jan. 14, 2013. I woke up excited and looked at the beautiful water outside my balcony in Pensacola, Florida (that's right, Pensacola), knowing that I had embarked on a new journey. The decision to move to Florida was a necessary one in order for me to achieve what I had set out to do in overcoming this injury. I left my daughter, my family and my friends to move 1,200 miles from my home in New Jersey to work under the renowned Dr. James Andrews' supervision and that of his training staff. I had to get ready for the 2013 season. Prior to my move south post-surgery, I began my treatment in New York with Dr. John Cavanaugh of HSS Hospital. I came to find, however, that New York was too close to my team and where I got hurt. So, I packed my things and moved back to California to work with my old doctor from USC, Dr. John Meyers. But again, various things reminded me of the tumultuous time last year when I was away from the team, the New York Giants. A week into that stay, I had a dream about a new journey. I told my mom and my agent, and I prayed about it. A week later, I decided to drop everything and move to Pensacola to get away from it all.
On Jan. 14, 2013, I had a morning appointment with Mr. Hunter Starks. Nervous but anxious to prepare myself and really attack my rehabilitation, I remember telling myself, "Terrell, be patient and do what they say." If anyone knows me, I like to do things my own way, and I knew that I had to get away from that mindset. From that day until I left two months later, I rehabbed twice a day and worked-out, on top of a 30-day challenge that included 300 push-ups and 200 abs per day. I did this to challenge myself and to and remind me of why I was there. The doctors and the city of Pensacola taught me to be patient and to work when no one is watching.
After my time in Florida, I returned to California for a short period with a new focus, a new understanding of faith and a restored confidence in myself that I could really do this. Previously, it was never a question of if I could do it; it was just about the how.
Between April 15 and June 14, I had to report to the Giants for offseason training. Being back with the organization and my teammates was great because I was able to get back into the swing of things with practice, film and just taking care of my body. After minicamp, I returned to California, and I had three things on my mind: my daughter, my annual youth football camp and a little bit of vacation. At this point, I was seven to eight months post-surgery, but I knew that there was still a lot of work to do.
I had a lot of gains during my time in California, as I rehabbed with Dr. John Meyer. It was also nice to workout with my good friend, Travelle Gaines, at his athletic facility, where I rebuilt my muscle, speed and endurance among other NFL athletes.
One month later, I had to report to the Giants. We had a conditioning test on the first day, and on the very last rep of the test, I felt something grab in my hamstring. I immediately slowed down and went into the training room, only to find that I had slightly pulled my hamstring. "Are you kidding me...?" I thought to myself. The tweaked hamstring could not have come at a worse time. But with my new-found sense of faith, I turned what could have been a negative outlook into something positive. I told myself, this is a "BID" -- a blessing in disguise. I told myself that it was a time to make my knee stronger. In life you can only control what you can control, and 90 percent of life is adversity and how you react to it. This was my moment to prove my growth.
After being on PUP (the physically unable to perform list) for the first week-and-a-half of training camp, I was able to practice. It was an exciting moment in my life to be able to play football again. I was anxious, but I told myself that each day was going to get better and better. "Don't push, just let it come naturally." After two weeks of training camp and two preseason games, I showed my coaches and front office staff enough to make the final 53-man roster. Wow -- what a blessing.
Thank you for starting this NFL journey with me here. One thing that you can count on in my blogs is to learn about my quest, how I have overcome my obstacles, pushed myself and continued to believe. At the end of the day, this is not my plan; this is God's plan.