Former Syracuse football standout Shamarko Thomas has had an interesting 48 hours in which he has swapped jerseys and ended up with the Denver Broncos.
You might want to pull out a notebook to keep track of all the movement of one Shamarko Thomas since he has left the Syracuse football program.
So let’s give a quick recap on where he has gone and how he ended up with the Denver Broncos.
He was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers to be the heir apparent to Troy Polamalu, after riding out his rookie contract, he sat in free agency waiting for another chance to prove himself. Thomas saw an opportunity and signed with the Buffalo Bills to stay in the AFC and became a core special teams player and role player on defense.
That ended up being only a hit-and-quit for one season, then late this offseason he signed with the Indianapolis Colts. The most prominent thing he did for the blue and white was becoming the first victim of the new helmet rule and was the first NFL player to be disqualified. You can view the footage here of the play.
You can’t deny the head-to-head contact here and matters weren’t helped when he got thrown under the bus by his former head coach Frank Reich who said this:
"“It was the appropriate call,” Colts head coach Frank Reich said via ESPN. “He should have been ejected. That should not be part of the game. That could have been avoided. Should have been avoided. The officials did the right thing.”"
Soon after he was released, but it didn’t take him long to find a new home with the Broncos. According to the Broncos website Thomas replaced safety Jamal Carter who was placed on injured reserve earlier this week.
So why is he a perfect fit with the Broncos?
Thomas is in his sixth year and has played in 60 career games, he has been there done that and he has learned from his mistakes. There are seven other safeties on the team. Most teams carry between four and five safeties on a team on their final roster.
What makes Thomas special is his ability to impose his will on the opponents. He would’ve been the perfect player in the early 1980’s in the NFL and he can still survive nowadays. Occasionally as you saw in the video above, his physicality can get him into trouble.
But I lean on my experience with Eric Dungey here. At first when Dungey arrived at Syracuse, his play frustrated me, I’d constantly be yelling at the television for him to avoid running. Last season I reached a point where I stopped complaining and just embraced his greatest asset, which is his ability to run the football.
The same narrative extends to Thomas, obviously the Broncos know what he brings to the table and brought him into the fold. He’s an enforcer that can set the tone defensively and his energy is infectious. The Broncos have lost a ton of players from their Super Bowl 50 championship team, Thomas can help bring back that defensive mentality that brought them a world title.