Everyone fearful of another Joey Bosa situation where 49ers draft pick Solomon Thomas held out for another month were able to relax on Friday. The man signed his contract and hit the field before the ink dried.
Now, Thomas has a great deal of catch-up to do. He was unable to partake in a lot of the offseason programs due to the NFL rule of keeping rookies off the field until finals are completed. We’ll see how things go, but Thomas seems to have been keeping up with everything throughout the offseason. He spoke to the media Friday after practice, and here’s what he had to say.
How did it feel to get out there with your team and practice?
It was amazing to get out here and be here day one with my team. I’m just glad I signed as quick as possible. I’m here, I’m happy.
What were the last 24 hours like?
You know, I just put it all on my agent—that’s what I hired him for, I trusted him to get done as fast as possible. He knew I wanted to be here as fast as possible. He knows me, he knows I’m a team guy, he knows I want to be out here with my team. It was anxious but it was great.
It was important to be here right away, particularly since you missed spring too. Do you feel like you have some catch-up to do?
You know I did miss OTAs because of my core systems, school in all that. But I feel like all my training, I’ve been doing great. I’m putting in extra work in on my own and doing that time. I didn’t take any time off, I was getting ready. Had the ipad watching film. I feel like I’m right there with everyone ready to get out there and get on the field tomorrow.
You’re a local guy. You’re no stranger to this team or the objective this year. What are your thoughts on where you’re starting from and potentially going?
One thing I can tell about the team is everyone’s hungry. Everyone is starting from scratch, everyone wants to get out there and rebuild this team, reestablish this team. It’s great, the energy is great. Just being out there today, on the first day, I could just tell there’s a whole new energy to everyone. I’m just trying to learn from everyone, get out there, compete, and just add on to what I can.
Where did you spend yesterday?
I went to Stanford. I was down the road just waiting. Letting my agent handle everything. I was working out, trying to let time pass by.
It’s no secret, last year Bosa 3rd pick, same representation. Were you concerned that this would last a month or more?
No, I was not concerned at all. My agent knew—I hired him for that reason—he knew how fast I wanted to get out there. He knew I wanted to be with the team and he knows I didn’t want to be by myself another month. So I just let him take care of everything. Both parties worked extremely hard and got it done as quick as possible, I couldn’t be happier to be here right now.
Did you stay really in tune with negotiations, what the sticking points were?
No, not really. I just let them, my agent take care of it, let the team take care of it, and they both have done an amazing job to get it done as quick as possible.
What was the genesis of you working out with DeMarcus Ware?
I was at the Game Changers with Demarcus Ware. I stayed in contact with him. He’s from Dallas, he lives in South Hill. I live in Coppell, about 15 minutes away. I went down there to work out with him a couple of times. Then I saw him at Stanford a couple times. Then at Game Changers, coach [Steve] Mariucci with Warren Sapp, he’s worked out before so he got us in contact. Warren was out here in the area, I just sent him a text, and we got some work together. It was just great, to learn from all those guys. They have so much knowledge and I’m just trying to take it in and add it to my game and make myself become a better player.
On your contract, how long did it take for you to get on a uniform?
Pretty quick. Just ran down to the locker room and threw my jersey on real quick. Laced up some new cleats and just got out there.
Did you already do the conditioning test? Or is that today?
No I did that with Ray [49ers strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright] today on the field as practice was going on. I went over and watched team and went over and did some drills with coach Ray as well.
You were watching film, how much contact did you have with coach [49ers defensive line coach Jeff] Zgonina?
There was a certain time period where I could call him. I couldn’t have face-to-face contact with him at all, that’s against the rules. We just followed the rules right, I just called him when I could and then the whole playbook, all the updates, it was just uploaded like everyone else. So I could watch all the practices like everyone else is. So I was able to watch the practices and go through the installs myself. So when I came back, even though I could come back for one day at minicamp, I was ready to go.
This team has used the top picks in the last two drafts on the line. Have you Arik and DeForest ever talked about how you have come through for this team?
We never actually talked about how we’re three first round picks and it’s on us. Everyone on this D-line is special. We have an amazing defensive line right now. From Elvis Dumerville to Ahmad Brooks to Chris Jones. We can learn from all those guys, they are all veterans. Elvis has 99 sacks, that’s unheard of. I can’t wait to learn from him and Ahmad is going into his 12th year. I’m excited to learn from these guys. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a pretty dangerous D-Line, so I’m excited to be a part of it.
Do you expect to on passing downs slide inside at defensive tackle?
Right now I’m a big-end and I feel like on nickel downs they want me to rush at a 3-technique. It’s still day one today; we’re still getting into everything, trying to feel how things fit and be put in the right position. That’s what we talked about at rookie minicamp, that things could change. So I’m just going to listen to coach and be the best player I can be at wherever he wants me.
How do you strike a balance between being fleet enough to rush from the edge as big-end and stout enough to rush from the center. Do you have a target weight?
I played at 275 and I feel comfortable with that. 276 right now and I’m ready to go. I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. Coming off of long-time training since the Sun Bowl and I’m ready to go.
John [49ers manager John Lynch] talks about kinship with you, why do you think that is?
We’re both passionate guys, we love football. We’re just guys who love to come up every day and smile and train. People ask why do you smile all the time. We just have the fire inside of us and we share that with. When you have someone you share that with it’s something special. I’m excited to bond with them over that and play with them on the field.