The Zach Attack is back.
According to a story from the Associated Press, Zach Thomas will go out exactly the way we all knew he should: a Miami Dolphin.
Sources say our most beloved middle linebacker and face of the franchise for over a decade will sign a ceremonial contract this afternoon so he can properly retire with the team he spent 12 magnificent seasons with. (Personally, I think a 54-hour, $54 contract would be fitting.)
It was always Zach’s team, anyway. There was never any doubt about that.
Much to the dismay of Dolfans, Zach was released two years ago by Bill Parcells and co. after injuries encumbered much of his playing, and the future Hall-of-Famer never got the chance to formally say goodbye the way he wanted…the way we wanted.
Since then he trekked from Dallas in 2008 to Kansas City last season, where he was also released due to injury, but he never felt at home like he did in Miami.
Thomas was drafted by the Dolphins in the fifth round of the 1996 NFL Draft. In his career the Zach Attack racked up 1,038 tackles (team record), 19 1/2 sacks and 17 interceptions in 168 games as a Miami Dolphin, and he was selected to seven Pro Bowls—second-most in Dolphins history behind the great Dan Marino.
Along with his brother-in-law Jason Taylor, he was the center of arguably the greatest Dolphin defenses in the history of the franchise. I think it’s only proper to bring my #54 jersey out of the closet for one Last Hurrah.
The thing I loved most about the so-called “undersized” Zach Thomas is that he poured everything he had into the game. He played the football the way it was supposed to be played. With toughness and with class.
And because of the way he played, Zach also dealt with numerous concussions throughout his career, which is why the 5-foot-11, 228-pound linebacker pledged earlier this year to donate his brain to the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University School of Medicine upon his death.
I don’t know what the doctors will find in his brain, but I do know what they’ll find in his heart. That man bled teal and orange. His jersey belongs up there next to #13.
A formal announcement is expected to be made in a 4 p.m news conference at the Dolphins training facility that will officially put an end to the story of one of the greatest Dolphins to ever put on a jersey. The prodigal son returns at last.
“I will always consider myself a Miami Dolphin,” a teary-eyed Thomas said when he was released in February 2008.
Welcome home, Zach.