Before the 2020 season began, New Orleans Saints star Michael Thomas was projected to put up superstar numbers again as Drew Brees’ No. 1 option on offense. The three-time Pro Bowler led the NFL in receptions in 2018 and 2019 and racked up the most receiving yards in 2019.
However, a serious ankle injury prevented Thomas from going off in 2020 for Brees and the Saints. That ailment, though, wasn’t going to stop the California native from risking his career for his Hall of Fame quarterback.
Michael Thomas got hurt in Week 1 of the season
In Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Michael Thomas suffered an ankle injury. He finished the game with three catches for 17 yards before heading to the locker room.
Thomas’ ankle injury was so significant that he didn’t play again until Week 9 versus the Buccaneers. Thomas caught five balls on six targets for 51 yards from Drew Brees in his return to the lineup. The Saints defeated the Buccaneers by a final score of 38-3 on Sunday Night Football and looked like the best team in the NFC.
In Week 14 against the Philadelphia Eagles, Thomas re-aggravated his ankle injury and missed the Saints’ final three games. New Orleans finished the season at 12-4 and faced the Chicago Bears in the Wild Card Round. Thomas was able to play in that game and looked like his old self. He recorded five receptions for 73 yards and one touchdown in the Saints’ 21-9 victory.
The Saints and Buccaneers played each other for the third time in the Divisional Round. This time, Tom Brady got the best of Brees, as the six-time champion led Tampa Bay to a 30-20 victory on the road. Thomas was targeted four times but failed to record a catch. It was clear that he wasn’t even close to 100%.
Michael Thomas probably shouldn’t have played against the Buccaneers, but he was willing to risk his body for Drew Brees.
Michael Thomas will have surgery this offseason
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Michael Thomas will have surgery this offseason on his torn deltoid and the other injured ligaments in his ankle. The two-time All-Pro WR went through a lot in 2020 to play the game he loves. Unfortunately, he was never able to reach 100%.
Thomas wasn’t able to practice much this season, but he risked his long-term career for Drew Brees and the Saints. It’s easy to see why the players and coaches in New Orleans love Thomas, one of the best receivers in the league when he’s healthy.
The Saints, who are waiting for Drew Brees to decide his future, hope that Michael Thomas’ surgery goes well and that the former AP Offensive Player of the Year is back to his dominant ways in 2021.
If Drew Brees retires, who will the Saints start at QB?
If Drew Brees retires from the NFL, Saints head coach Sean Payton has to decide if he wants to start Taysom Hill or Jameis Winston next season. Hill started for New Orleans this season when Brees was hurt. He threw for 834 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions.
Winston is a better passer than Hill. However, he’s a turnover machine, as the former No. 1 overall pick has 88 interceptions in his career. It’s going to be interesting to see who the Saints go with if Brees does in fact retire.
Drew Brees, the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards, will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer one day. If he retires, Brees will finish his NFL career with 80,358 yards through the air and 571 passing touchdowns.
Stats courtesy of Football Reference.