NOLA- For a brief while Wednesday it seemed the Houston Texans signing of former Saints running back Pierre Thomas was on the brink of happening.
But now it seems that may not be the case at all. Hours after Thomas held a successful tryout with the Texans on Wednesday morning his agent Lamont Smith said via Twitter that Thomas and the Texans were unable to reach a deal.
"Pierre Thomas had a great visit and work out with texans, unfortunately we were unable to agree on terms," Smith tweeted.
Thomas, 30, has been out of football since he was released by the Saints in March in a salary cap move. Thomas, who spent the first years of his career with the Saints after coming aboard as an undrafted free agent out of Illinois, ran for a career-low 222 yards on 45 carries last season.
"We want someone that can do a little bit of everything," he said. "We want a guy who can run the football in certain situations, a guy who can catch the ball in the backfield, a guy who can help us on special teams. I'm sure we will find some candidates who will be able to do that."
You can call me biased, and I probably am, but the thought of Pierre Thomas not starting the season on an NFL roster seems absolutely insane to me. I like to think I can be objective regarding a player whose employment no longer directly affects the team I root for, and I can't think of one reason, other than age, that Thomas can't fulfill a significant role in an NFL backfield. It's not that I don't understand the ever decreasing market for 30 year old running backs. I absolutely do. However, while Pierre Thomas' birth certificate may identify him as a man that has reached his thirties, his workload certainly hasn't been that of your average aging halfback. He's spent his entire career in Sean Payton's system. A system that revolves around spreading the ball around and not having a primary ball carrier. Hell, if there is a complaint that Saints fans have had over the last half decade, it's that Thomas wasn't called upon enough. In essence, it seems that Pierre has been marked with a scarlet letter based on nothing but his year of birth.
The last football fans, and specifically Saints fans, saw of Thomas he was the same running back he has been for the last 3-4 years. A versatile player that is the very definition of consistency. As far as I am concerned, in a sport as unpredictable as football, there's no more important intangible that a player can possess than dependability. If there is something that Pierre Thomas provides it's the ability to know what you are going to get. No, he's not going to carry the ball 300 times and be the focal point of an offense. No, he's not going to rip off 50+ touchdown runs or turn his patented screen pass into a game breaking play like the Pierre Thomas of old. However, he will catch everything thrown to him. He will constantly break the first tackle and provide yards after contact. He will be a reliable blocker in passing situations. You know, pretty much the EXACT player Texans coach Bill O'Brien described. If anything, Pierre Thomas embodies a very rare player in this day and age. A player that doesn't demand the ball, but contributes offensively when you put it in his hands. I don't care if he's 52, you can't tell me there isn't a single team in the league that could use a player with that skill set. Sean Payton has been saving up those legs for years, it would be a damn shame to see them go to waste because of the failures of those before him. There is definitely a concerning pattern, but at the end of the day, age is still just a number.