It was surely tough for the Ravens to say goodbye to Adalius Thomas after the 2006 season. Now it looks like they may have a shot at getting him back.
Thomas, who has two years left on a reported five-year, $35 million contract with New England, has said he doesn't expect to play for the Patriots next season.
On the field, Thomas had a disappointing 2009. He made just 34 tackles and three sacks with no interceptions or forced fumbles. He started 11 of 14 games after coming back from a broken arm in 2008.
Off the field, Thomas clashed with Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick through the media. In Week 6, Belichick made Thomas inactive even though the outside linebacker was healthy. In Week 14, Thomas arrived late for a meeting and was sent home for the day. He refused to apologize, saying he had followed team rules.
"I definitely didn't have fun. It was definitely a frustrating year," Thomas told Boston radio station 98.5 FM. "I want to come somewhere where I'm wanted and where I'm gonna have fun. If I'm not gonna do that, that's not where I'm gonna be."
Thomas reportedly is set to make $4.9 million next year, a salary the Patriots may look to cut considering his production has dipped in each of his three years in Foxboro.
Whether the Ravens would be interested in signing Thomas is unknown considering they are not allowed to comment on players under contract.
"My job is to coach the guys they have here," said Dean Pees, the Ravens' newly-hired linebackers coach, who oversaw Thomas as New England's defensive coordinator last year.
"But I can give them an evaluation of how he played and I'll be happy to coach whoever shows up."
The Ravens already have two outstanding outside linebackers in Jarret Johnson and Terrell Suggs. The only spot that could be open would be next to Ray Lewis inside, but the Ravens let Bart Scott go last offseason and committed to young linebackers Tavares Gooden, Dannell Ellerbe and Jameel McClain. So it's unlikely that they would reverse course after seeing promise from that group in 2009.
Thomas had some great years in Baltimore, however. A former sixth-round draft pick, Thomas worked his way through the ranks to become a Pro Bowl special teamer in 2003, then a Pro Bowl linebacker in 2006. From 2004-2006, Thomas averaged 80 tackles and nine sacks per season.
The New York Jets could also be a possible destination for Thomas if he is cut. There, he could rejoin Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan and linebacker Bart Scott while also getting two shots a year at the Patriots.