Wednesday, March 19
By John Oehser - Colts.com
Colts Retain Veteran Free Agent Defensive End
INDIANAPOLIS - Add another name to the list of recent Colts re-signings.
This time, the name is that of a defensive end who has been a key contributor in the line rotation the past four seasons.
Josh Thomas, a fifth-year veteran defensive end who became an unrestricted free agent following this past season, has re-signed with the Colts, the club announced on Wednesday morning. Duration and terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Thomas became the fourth player re-signed by the Colts in recent months. Before the start of the league year, the Colts retained three potential unrestricted free agents by re-signing them to long-term contracts: safety Bob Sanders, tight end Dallas Clark and offensive guard Ryan Lilja.
Thomas, after joining the Colts as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2004, developed into one of the team's top reserves in recent seasons, playing in 52 games the past four seasons and starting nine games.
He started seven of 15 games this past season, moving into a starting position when three-time Pro Bowl selection Dwight Freeney sustained a season-ending injury against the San Diego Chargers on November 11.
Thomas, who started the San Diego game in place of left defensive end Robert Mathis, started in place of Freeney at right end for two games, moved back to left end for three games, then returned to the right side for the Colts’ playoff loss to San Diego.
He missed the second-to-last game of the season against Houston with an illness.
Thomas, who turns 27 in June, is among the biggest players on a defensive line that is considered small by NFL standards. He is 6-feet-5, an inch taller than ends Jeff Charleston and tackle/end Raheem Brock, and at 271 pounds, heavier than all Colts defensive linemen except tackles Darrell Reid (288 pounds), Ed Johnson (296), Quinn Pitcock (299) and Brock (274).
Thomas in 2007 had his best statistical NFL season, registering a career-high 55 tackles, 33 solos, with a sack, three passes defensed and a forced fumble. He finished the season with 14 quarterback pressures, third on the team behind Mathis (17) and Freeney (19).
In four seasons, Thomas has 137 tackles, 92 solos, with six sacks, three passes defensed, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Thomas was one of six Colts players to become unrestricted free agents at the start of the league year on February 29. The others were defensive tackle Dan Klecko, offensive guard Jake Scott, linebacker Rocky Boiman, wide receiver Aaron Moorehead and tight end Mike Seidman.
Scott signed as a free agent with the Tennessee Titans on March 10, and Klecko signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as a fullback earlier this week.
The team also released defensive tackle Anthony “Booger” McFarland and linebacker Rob Morris shortly before the start of the league year.