Thomas with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2015
|No. 25 New York Jets|
|Date of birth:||February 23, 1991|
|Place of birth:||Virginia Beach, Virginia|
|Height:||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Weight:||217 lb (98 kg)|
|High school:||Virginia Beach (VA) Ocean Lakes|
|NFL Draft:||2013 / Round: 4 / Pick: 111|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of 2016|
Shamarko Lanell Thomas (born February 23, 1991) is an American football safety for the New York Jets of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Syracuse, and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Thomas was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He attended Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach, and he played for the Ocean Lakes Dolphins high school football team. He was named 2008 first-team all-state, all-region and All-Tidewater, and was a two-time first-team all-district selection. He set school records in career tackles, interceptions and defensive touchdowns. In 2008, he recorded a team-high 102 tackles, six interceptions, 11 pass breakups, and one blocked field goal as a team captain, leading the squad to a 12–1 record, while earning 2008 team defensive MVP honors. He led the team in tackles as a junior.
Thomas was also a track star at Ocean Lakes High School. He earned all-state honors competing in the 100 meters, and as the anchor of the 4 x 100 meter relay that placed seventh in Virginia. At the 2009 Beach District Championships, he placed first in the 100 meters (10.76s) and third in the 200 meters (21.78s).
Thomas attended Syracuse University, where he was a member of the Syracuse Orange football team from 2009 to 2012. During his career, he started 43 of 48 games in which he played, recording 263 tackles, two interceptions and four quarterback sacks. As a senior in 2012, he was a first-team All-Big East Conference selection.
Thomas was projected by many analysts to be a mid-round selection, likely going in the third or fourth rounds. Although he had good coverage skills and was thought to be really tough, many scouts thought his lack of height would be an issue when covering tight ends. He was invited to the NFL Combine and performed well but embarrassingly tripped and fell on his face after running the 40. He was unable to perform the three-cone drill due to a hamstring injury but did make it up at Syracuse's Pro Day. Thomas was comfortable enough with his combine performance that he chose not to do any exercises, besides three-cone drill, at his Pro Day. He was also rated fourth among 177 qualifying strong safeties by NFLDraftScout.com.
|Ht||Wt||40-yd dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert||Broad||BP|
|5 ft 9 in||213 lb||4.42 s||1.52 s||2.49 s||4.26 s||6.84 s||40.5 in||11 ft 1 in||28 reps|
|All values from NFL Combine|
On May 16, 2013, Thomas signed a four-year, $2.61 million contract that includes a signing bonus of $453,152.
He entered his rookie season as the third-string backup to Pro-bowl veteran Troy Polamalu and Damon Cromartie-Smith. He made his professional debut in the Steeler's season opener against the Tennessee Titans and finished with two tackles. On September 22, 2013, Thomas had his first career start and finished the loss with one tackle against the Chicago Bears. On November 3, 2013, he had his best game of the season after he made a season-high 8 total tackles during the Steeler's 31-55 loss to the New England Patriots. During a Week 10 matchup against the Buffalo Bills, he suffered an ankle injury that sidelined him for the next two games. Before the injury, Thomas had been able to earn the backup strong safety position and mainly played the primary safety in the defense's sub packages. Veteran Will Allen was signed by the Steelers to substitute for Thomas while he recovered from his injury and when he returned he was unable to win his former position from Allen.
He finished his rookie season with a total of 29 tackles in 14 games and two starts.
During the offseason, Thomas was invited by Troy Polamalu to train with him in California under Polamalu's trainer Marv Marnovich. He was the first player Polamalu ever invited. They used iso-kinectic training to focused on fast-twitch muscle fibers. He entered training camp battling Will Allen for the backup position behind Polamalu. He fortunately was awarded the backup position after Allen was moved to the backup free safety position behind Mike Mitchell. In his second season with the Steelers, he was unable to receive prominent playing time and was mainly used as a gunner on special teams. During the 2014 season, Thomas played in 11 games, none as a starter, recording 5 solo tackles and his first career forced fumble at Carolina Panthers in Week 3.
On April 9, 2015, Polamalu announced his retirement from the NFL, and Thomas was assumed to be the heir apparent. After a rough preseason, it was determined that Thomas would be the backup behind Will Allen. Thomas played sparsely during the season, registering just 12 tackles in 15 games.
Thomas entered the offseason with an opportunity to regain the starting position after the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to overhaul their pass defense after ranking 28th in 2015. With former starting strong safety Will Allen gone, Thomas battled rookie Sean Davis and veteran Robert Golden for the starting strong safety position. He lost the job to Golden and was slated to be his backup to begin the regular season. He was placed on injured reserve on December 24, 2016.
New York Jets
While attending Syracuse University in 2010, Thomas lost his mother and father in a span of nine months. His mother, Ebeth Shabazz, died from a heart condition and his father died after being involved in a motorcycle accident. As the oldest child in his family, Thomas questioned whether or not to enter the 2012 NFL Draft so he could have an income to help his siblings. He has four brothers and one sister.
- "Beach District Outdoor Track Championship". MileStat.com.
- "BIG EAST Announces 2012 Postseason Football Honors".
- "NFL Draft Profile: Shamarko Thomas". NFL.com. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
- "Shamarko Thomas/Syracuse, SS: 2013 NFL Draft". NFLDraftScout.com. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
- "NFL Events: Combine Player Profiles – Shamarko Thomas".
- "Sportrac.com: Shamarko Thomas". sportrac.com. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
- "Ourlad.com: Pittsburgh Steelers Depth Chart". ourlads.com. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
- Jeff Hartman (July 26, 2014). "Troy Polamalu's Ninja training routine works for Shamarko Thomas". behindthesteelcurtain.com. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
- "NFL Player Profile: Shamarko Thomas". NFL.com. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
- "With Troy gone, it's Thomas' turn".
- "Maxey and Shabazz promoted to active roster". Steelers.com. December 24, 2016.
- Lange, Randy (June 1, 2017). "Jets Sign Ex-Steelers DB Shamarko Thomas". NewYorkJets.com.