Shortly after the 2017 NFL draft, we learned that San Francisco 49ers rookie defensive lineman Solomon Thomas was working out with NFL pass rushing legend DeMarcus Ware. Thomas is from Texas, while Ware is retired down there, and they worked out with some other players.
It turns out, Thomas was the one who reached out to Ware. On Wednesday, Ware made an appearance on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football program. He talked about his work with Thomas and how impressed he was with Thomas’ maturity. He thinks Thomas “has that dog in him” to potentially become a great player.
Ware also seemed to offer some insight into Thomas’ new number. Thomas wore No. 96 at rookie minicamp, but he was switched to No. 94 for OTAs. He’s not participating yet due to Stanford’s final exam scheduled, but it is noteworthy that he made the switch. Justin Smith wore No. 94, but Ware’s comments suggest Thomas made the switch because he wants to emulate Ware. The All-Pro pass rusher told Thomas he hopes the rookie is better than him.
Thomas will re-join the 49ers once Stanford’s final exams end next month. He will likely get in a day or two of practice during mandatory minicamp. The 49ers will then part ways for six weeks until the start of training camp. Thomas is not getting any favors when it comes to learning the playbook and getting coached up by the 49ers staff to implement what he’s learning. However, getting to work with Ware in the meantime, and into the summer, is certainly the next best thing. It will help him build some momentum heading into training camp.
Here’s a transcript of Ware’s comments about Thomas.
On working with Thomas:
When you get a rookie that’s mature, to call a veteran, and say, “Can you help me before, you know, rookie training camp?” That was big. And having the opportunity to work on his technique, to now him calling me, and he said, “DeMarcus, you know I’m gonna wear No. 94.” And for me, I’m like, oh man, like, really? He said, “I wanna emulate my game after you.” And I told him, “I was a great player when I played, but I don’t want you to be like me, I want you to be better than me. So I’m gonna show you some things that are gonna get you to the next level.” And to have a guy that’s mature like that, he’s worthy of the pick.
On how he puts together a HOF career:
I think he started off the right way mentally. Going to a guy that he wants to emulate himself after, but then, getting the technique. I’m gonna work with him this whole offseason, in OTAs, in the minicamp, and then in July when everybody’s off, he’s right there in Texas, so I’ll be working with him also. So he has to let that carry over into the field. And I feel like that’s what he has to do.
If he has that dog in him:
Oh, he has that dog in him. He’s a strong boy, and fast. I said, listen, don’t touch me, don’t hit me too hard.