GLENDALE, Ariz. — Well, that was quick.
After being released by the Detroit Lions Monday, wide receiver Mike Thomas not only signed with the Arizona Cardinals, but was a participant in Tuesday’s practice at University of Phoenix Stadium.
“You know, they gassed up the jet for me — no, I’m just kidding,” Thomas said when asked how he got to Arizona so fast from the Lions’ training camp in Allen Park, Michigan. “(The Cardinals) called first thing, we spoke this morning, I arrived and have been taking care of business since then.”
Thomas, 26, is entering his fifth NFL season. He spent three-plus seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars after they chose him in the fourth round out of the University of Arizona in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Midway through last season, the Lions gave up a fifth-round pick in 2014 to secure the services of Thomas, but he only caught five passes for 28 yards in nine games with Detroit.
Following his release, Thomas said there were several teams interested, but Arizona, ultimately, was the place for him.
“I just felt like it would be the best fit for me and my skill set,” he said. “Obviously, I was wanted a little bit as well, so it just worked out that I could be here and I’m thankful and grateful to be here.”
Thomas is no stranger to the Grand Canyon State. He left UA as the Pac-10’s all-time leading receiver with 259 catches.
“The irony of it is pretty amazing,” Thomas said about his return to Arizona. “It’s awesome, to be back. When I got here, I felt so much better with the sunny skies and just clear vision again just to come out here and be here, so it’s a good feeling.”
Thomas’ presence makes the battle for the fourth and fifth wide receiver spots that much more interesting. Undrafted rookies Jaron Brown and Charles Hawkins, along with former ASU Sun Devil Kerry Taylor, have all been impressive at different times in camp. Thomas says the uncertainty at the position didn’t have much to do with his choice to sign with Arizona.
“You know, I really didn’t pay too much attention to it,” he said. “My agent did a lot of the book work and for me; I’m just looking for the opportunity to come in and play and just get back to having fun.”