The end of an era in Miami Dolphin history.
Thomas, a seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker and one of the most popular and productive players ever to wear a Dolphins uniform, was released Thursday, the biggest move yet in Miami’s massive rebuilding project.
“I have a tremendous appreciation and admiration not only for the Dolphins organization, but for the fans as well, for all of the support that they have given me,” Thomas said in a statement, in which he thanked owner Wayne Huizenga, new football operations head Bill Parcells and general manager Jeff Ireland.
The 34-year-old linebacker said he plans to play with another team next season, more than likely one that can contend for a Super Bowl title — and give Thomas a chance at winning his first championship.
“I am healthy and look forward to playing in 2008, but will always consider myself a Miami Dolphin,” Thomas said.
Thomas was the 154th player chosen in the 1996 draft, and many observers didn’t give the 5-foot-11 player from Texas Tech much chance of making the Miami roster.
Thomas was a classic overachiever and he will be missed in Miami. His recent concussions though make me think it would be wiser if Zach were to retire. One or two more years of football isn’t worth the injury that could result from a far worse head injury.
Miami trimmed about $9 million in 2008 base salary on Monday, when it parted ways with quarterback Trent Green, wide receiver Marty Booker and seven other players. Thomas was slated to make just over $5.6 million in base salary this coming season.
Booker was an over paid underachiever and Green is 37 years old now but will be 38 before the next season begins, and has a history of concussions. Miami was wise letting Booker and Green go. Green could be back as a emergency backup, but Miami would be crazy to give Trent another shot at the starting quarterback job.
Rebuilding the Dolphins is going to be a slow process. Four wins in 2008 will be a good year.
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