FOXBOROUGH -- Being 31 years old and coming off an Achilles injury at the end of last year, it's clear Demaryius Thomas is not going to be the receiver he once was when he complied five straight 1,000 yards seasons in Denver.
But, that is not what the Patriots are looking for.
All they need is for him to be a dependable No. 3ish receiver and be reliable for Tom Brady.
Speaking for the first time in a Patriots uniform Sunday afternoon in the Gillette Stadium locker room, it appears Thomas is confident he will be able to do just that.
“I still can go,” he said. “ I still can go. (Just have to) knock little rust off and keep building the days.”
The issue isn't the Achilles which he injured last December, it's just so much time missed.
“I don’t have problems my with Achilles,” he said. “It’s just reacting. I haven’t been in front of defensive guys or just going play by play in eight months. I haven’t had on pads or helmets in a while.”
Thomas returned to the practice field in full pads last week, so he hasn't had much live practice reps, but he's been around the team the entire summer, including making both road trips this preseason so he shouldn't have any issue catching up on the field.
“I think it’s a challenge of me just going out and continuing to do what I’ve been doing my whole career,” Thomas said. “It’s a tougher challenge because here, they expect more and it’s a little different than where I’ve been, but I’ll be all right.”
The veteran also noted no other teams showed interest in him this offseason prior to signing with New England in mid-April, but it sounds like he wouldn't have had it any other way.
“I’ve got a chance to play with arguably, from the last seven years on, the best team in football,” Thomas said. “And to play with another future Hall of Famer. So I’m blessed and excited about it.”