Shamarko Thomas appears to live by the credo “speak softly and carry a big stick.” He isn’t the type to tell you how good he is.
This pre-season Shamarko has been overshadowed in the media by defenders like Ryan Shazier, Jarvis Jones, and Jason Worilds.
He may not start in 2014, but Shamarko Thomas is quietly working his way towards being the Steelers’ next breakout star.
It may seem like Thomas is coming along slowly, but really his career arc is what you hope every player’s will be… Perform on special teams, while learning from a veteran until you’re ready to step into the starting lineup well prepared for the NFL game.
In his rookie season the stories circulated about Shamarko Thomas’ work ethic, repeating what his late mother told him “work until your hands and feet fall off.”
We heard about his maturity; becoming the legal guardian of his 5 younger siblings at just 20 years old while playing college football at Syracuse.
It’s because of that work ethic and maturity that nobody was surprised that Shamarko reached out and spent a week at Troy Polamalu’s home in California to learn about football physically, mentally, and spiritually through the eyes of a true great (and hopefully future hall of famer).
Shamarko Thomas did his best Troy Polamalu impression against the Bills last weekend; lining up outside at cornerback, as a slot cornerback, free safety, and strong safety.
Thomas flew around the field, blowing up a swing pass in the red-zone and making a big play by forcing a fumble.
Thomas’ emergence seems to be coming just as Troy Polamalu looks ready to retire. I expect Thomas to be the 2015 starter at strong safety, and I also expect Thomas to look like a veteran from day 1 as a starter.