Michael Thomas
Mitchell Leff : Getty Images

Does Michael Thomas Hate The New Orleans Saints?

Michael Thomas has had an interesting stint with the New Orleans Saints. After being drafted in the second round in 2016, he quickly became the go-to guy in New Orleans. Thomas set the record for most receptions in a season with 149 in 2019 and looked like an elite receiver in this league. Fast forward two years, he has been hit with injuries, a suspension, and a number of rumors that the Saints were looking to trade him. Something just does not seem right between Michael Thomas and the Saints.

After a record-setting year in 2019, Thomas was viewed as a top-five receiver in this league and was as reliable as they come from the receiver position. 2020 was a different story for the 2019 Offensive Player of The Year.

Thomas played in Week 1 against the Buccaneers and sustained an ankle injury which caused him to miss three games. Fast forward to Week 5 against the Chargers, and Thomas looked healthy enough to come back. What did he do in the ensuing practice? He and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson got into a fight, and the Saints suspended Thomas for the Week 5 matchup. This is only the beginning of the Saints-Thomas saga.

Thomas went on to suffer a minor hamstring injury in October and injured the same ankle in late December. He played in only six regular-season games, and other than two games against the Falcons, he was not very good. Thomas played in both postseason games and had five catches in both combined.

The offseason is where things got even worse. As I stated before, Thomas had been dealing with an ankle injury all season. Sean Payton, Thomas, and other Saints members talked and agreed that Thomas would go under the knife between late February and early March. This way, he could get the surgery, recover, and be ready to roll for training camp. Thomas took a different route and decided to get a second opinion.

The second opinion offered Thomas a more conservative approach to rehab and recovery. Instead of getting the surgery right at the beginning of the offseason, Thomas underwent the procedure in June. The timetable is very much up in the air, but at minimum, Thomas is looking at around four months in recovery, which would mean an October return at the earliest. This was reported by Ian Rapport on July 23rd.

Yesterday we got another piece of the Michael Thomas puzzle as Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com reported that Thomas ignored calls from the team, trainers, and even Sean Payton. For three months, Thomas was virtually impossible to reach and went out his way not to communicate with the team.

Payton had this to say about the situation, and let’s just say he was not happy.

“It appears we’re going to have to spend some time without him,” Payton said. “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.” 

via CBS Sports

I wonder what Thomas’s teammate’s reactions were to him showing up in July only to say that his ankle is still hurt. If I am Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, I’d tell him to get ready for round two. Something just does not add up. Does he hate Sean Payton? Does he hate playing football in general? I cannot wrap my head around a guy with the talent of Thomas, not wanting to get back on the field as soon as possible.

The Saints will be without Drew Brees for the first time in 2021 as the legendary quarterback hung up the cleats this past offseason. They re-signed James Winston, Alvin Kamara is an MVP-caliber player, and Sean Payton is one of the top offensive minds in the league, but playing without Thomas is going to hurt. This situation is just so weird to me, and I would be shocked if Thomas finishes his contract with New Orleans.

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