Pirates Profile: Jared Thomas
By: Peter Roseman
April 28, 2021
Jared Thomas, the Pirates recently acquired center, is ready to play football. Since his college career ended back in spring 2020 Thomas has been waiting, impatiently, to get back on the field. And at 6’3” 300 pounds, he’s just what the Pirates need to solidify an already robust offensive line. It was through Instagram that the Pirates first got a glimpse of Thomas’ size, strength, and versatility. He can also play left tackle. A quick phone call to his agent was all it took and Thomas leapt at the opportunity to join the Pirates organization for the upcoming 2021 season. This week’s ‘Pirates Profile’ highlights my interview with the center from Indianapolis.
Along with countless others across the country, Thomas’ professional life had been on hold ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began threatening our nation’s communities. He expressed to me how disappointing it was that after performing well at his ‘Pro Day’ last spring the NFL was basically forced to shut down operations. There were no rookie combines to attend and minicamps were for the most part non-existent. Thomas was unable to showcase his talents or prove he was ready to take a giant leap into the world of professional football. This is why he was so thrilled to hear from the Pirates. I was curious to know if he’s at all nervous about adapting to a smaller field and a new set of rules. Surprisingly, Thomas isn’t concerned about adjusting to the indoor game. “Football is football,” he told me with confidence. After talking with Thomas and understanding his commitment to the sport there’s no reason for me, or any Pirate fans, to doubt him.
Thomas’ sports career began when he was just four years old when he started playing basketball. It didn’t take long for him to realize sports were an important part of growing up in Indianapolis. Thomas recalled friends and family members playing sports locally and even continuing on into college. He excelled at basketball and played all the way into high school. Thomas entered Indianapolis’ Cathedral High School as a 6’2”, 240 pound devoted hoopster. That’s when his father intervened and offered some valuable advice, telling young Jared that one sport just wasn’t enough. Being big and athletic, Thomas decided to play football, although it wasn’t until sophomore year that Thomas actually suited up for an already talented Cathedral football team. It turned out to be the best sports decision he ever made. Even as a sophomore he realized this was to be the “Beginning of a long journey.” In the process of helping his team win a state title, Thomas learned a lot about himself and what it took to be a player. Today he looks back on that first season of football as his favorite through high school. What followed were two more seasons, junior and senior years, and two more state titles, a remarkable achievement. Thomas neared graduation bigger and stronger. Fast and athletic, at close to 300 hundred pounds, he readied himself for the next step: Division 1 college football. To think he’d only played the sport for three years at that point, a true testament to his natural ability and willingness to work hard.
Thomas received offers to play college football from fourteen colleges and universities. His decision was made easier by certain criteria. Thomas was concerned with academics. He wanted a reputable institution. Also, he wanted football greatness, either the Atlantic Coast Conference, ACC, or the Big Ten. For a player of his ability, competing at the highest possible level was ideal for improving his game and preparing for a shot at the professional football. In the end Thomas selected Northwestern University located in Evansville, Illinois. Being a Wildcat satisfied both criteria with an added bonus, the school is just a few hours away from Indianapolis making it easy for his family to attend home games. Thomas red-shirted as a freshman but actually saw playing time in a late season game against Michigan State.
Thomas discussed his college football experience with me in detail. “We were a force to be reckoned with,” he told me while speaking about his team at Northwestern. His fondest memory is the 2018 Big Ten Championship when the Wildcats took on league behemoth Ohio State University. The game took place at Lucas Oil Stadium, right in Thomas’ old backyard, Indianapolis. Playing in front of at least forty friends and family members, the Northwestern center felt right at home. While the loss stung, the Buckeyes from OSU prevailed by a score of 45-24, Thomas said his team did have opportunities and even had their opponent on the ropes a few times. It was college football at its best. The game was a thrill he’ll never forget.
Thomas is a unique talent in that he can play across the offensive line. I asked him about that and why he wasn’t forced to specialize, like most players. He told me that specializing or, simply put, playing only one position, “Does a disservice to players.” He stressed the importance of versatility on the football field and is grateful of the talent blessed upon him. Thomas even referred to a movie, “The Blindside,” as proof that more attention is being paid to guys in the trenches. It’s all good news for Pirate fans. This season we can expect Thomas to be a huge asset to the offensive line either at center or tackle.
We talked a little about life away from football. Thomas mentioned the importance of his family and talked about his love of traveling. With pride he mentioned his desire for continued personal growth, both physically and mentally. A voracious reader, Thomas lately chooses books focused on financial literacy and leadership, two important topics to any recent college graduate with a bright future.
My last topic of interest in speaking with Thomas was a big one, one I couldn’t possibly overlook. I just had to ask him what a man his size likes to eat. I could almost sense a broad smile break out as he didn’t consider the question more than a moment or two before answering, “Steak!” Thomas loves to eat steak, maybe a side of mac & cheese and some greens to fill out the plate. His favorite meal has even inspired him to experiment with marinades at home. Thomas told me there’s nothing like a steak meal after a big win. So local restaurants you’re all on notice. Once the season begins on April 24th, and the Pirates start winning, be on the look-out for a 6’3” 300 pound football player ready to celebrate victories with his favorite meal.
The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the Indoor Football League (IFL). The Pirates play all home games at Phoenix Field at the DCU Center located at 50 Foster St. Worcester, MA. 01608. For more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.masspiratesfootball.com. Single-game tickets will be available soon at ticketmaster.com or the DCU Center Box Office. For season, half-season, luxury, or group ticket packages please call 508-452-MASS (6277). Follow the Pirates on Facebook via Facebook.com/MAPirates, Instagram @mass.pirates, and Twitter @mass_pirates. #GetHooked #AllAboard