Alvin Kamara defends teammate Michael Thomas amid injury woes: ‘It just irks my soul’

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Thursday the Saints announced Michael Thomas would undergo season-ending surgery, the latest setback for a once-dominant player whose career has been derailed by constant injuries. Since being honored as Offensive Player of the Year in 2019, a season that saw Thomas erupt for 149 catches (still the most in NFL history), the star receiver has played all of 10 games, fading into obscurity while frustrating fans with his inability to stay healthy. Alvin Kamara, however, is not here for any Thomas slander, resenting the notion that his teammate of the past six years is dogging it or putting anything less than his best foot forward, insisting nobody wants to be on the field more than “Can’t Guard” Mike.

“It just sucks to have a player of that caliber, an elite player that obviously works hard and is passionate about the game and just kind of got hit with some unlucky things. I saw a couple comments in the media like you can’t trust him, he’s not being honest about his injury, why is he waiting until now to be ruled out?” Kamara told reporters Friday. “Nobody knows what we go through in here. The masses just see Sunday. There’s a lot of s—t we have to go through. A player like that, that’s fighting to get back, not only for his team but for the fans and this city, for people to be talking s—t, it just irks my soul to see that.”

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Admittedly, the Saints haven’t gotten much return on their investment with Thomas, who the team rewarded with a five-year, $100-million extension in 2019, which, at the time, made him the highest-paid receiver in football. Thomas got off to a hot start this year with three touchdowns in his first two games. However, his comeback would be shortlived, succumbing to a toe injury that would ultimately end his season. Critics have labeled the 29-year-old “injury-prone” and “unreliable,” a narrative Kamara would like to dispel right now.

“I just wanted to say that because Mike, out of anybody in this locker room, he’s one of those dudes that’s fighting to be on the field,” said Kamara. “He was trying to play last week. I’m like, ‘Man, if you can’t go, you can’t go.’ And he was like, ‘I might be back.’”

With Thomas and Jarvis Landry both injured (though the latter is trending toward a return this week), the Saints have been extremely shorthanded on the pass-catching front, leaning heavily on rookie Chris Olave. Fiercely protective of his fallen teammate, Kamara’s loyalty is admirable, refusing to let the media paint with a broad brush or diminish Thomas’ accomplishments in any way.

“Nobody’s in here like, ‘Hey, let me get injured and not play and just get paid.’ We get paid to play, obviously, and we want to be available, but when you can’t do it, there are certain things you have to be smart about,” said Kamara, who exploded for 158 yards (62 rushing, 96 receiving) and three touchdowns in last week’s win over Las Vegas. “You know he’s not going to ruin the rest of his career for right now. Obviously, he has something that he has to attend to and he has to fix it so it doesn’t get any worse and doesn’t mess his career up later down the road.”

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Wesley Hitt, Getty Images