From Ga to OH, Thomasville native Charlie Thomas joins the NFL

·4 min read

May 25—THOMASVILLE — For most of his life, Charlie Thomas lived in his home town of Thomasville, aside from attending college at Georgia Tech. Now, he finds himself in Cleveland, Ohio as a rookie with the Cleveland Browns.

Thomas went undrafted in the 2023 NFL draft, but was picked up soon after as an undrafted free agent by the Browns. Now, he is in Cleveland, living out the dream of a small town kid.

"I'm excited just to have an opportunity because, out of everybody who declared for the NFL draft, not too many people are in that one group that actually got a chance to taste that dream," said Thomas. "I'm excited and blessed for sure."

Of course, there's nothing like strapping up for an NFL practice for the first time. The magnitude of the moment wasn't lost on Thomas as he snapped on that iconic orange helmet.

"I was pumped," Thomas said "The opportunity is a blessing itself. I'm just trying to soak it all in and show what I can do on the field. It's truly a blessing for sure."

The Browns have already been through rookie camp and are now in the midst of OTA's. Though his career in Cleveland has just begun, Thomas is already finding out what life in the NFL is like. Thomas is a student of the game, always willing to listen to his coaches and fellow players. His teammates in the line backer room have been particularly helpful. NFL veterans like Anthony Walker Jr., Jordan Kunasyk and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah have already helped Thomas.

"All of those guys are very helpful," he said. "And guys in my position on special teams, they just help you out as far as what you need to be doing and how they want to do it."

The Browns staff has, of course, been a help to Thomas as well. Though the NFL is the highest level of football, Thomas said the fundamentals are what they focus on the most in practice.

"It's more fundamentals than anything for sure," Thomas explained. "The coaching points being more fundamentals, understanding why you're moving a certain way and different stuff like that as far as technique and basic fundamentals."

However, the Browns coaching staff is about more than football. It's not just the skills on the field they are looking for, but the heart underneath the jersey as well.

"They aren't necessarily just worried about football. It's also what type of person you are, do you love the game and I feel like that's important because that's what it takes to win," Thomas said.

The coaches are also looking for quick learners and fast thinkers. Everyday the team spends quite a bit of time in meetings, going over strategy and the way they want to play Browns football. But, what they are truly looking for is application on the field.

"They want to see who you are as far as can you learn fast," Thomas said. "Can you apply what we are teaching to you in the classroom on the field."

As far as what the rookie brings to Cleveland, Thomas cited his ability to see the game through "a coaches lens" and his natural feel for the game. What struck harder, however, was when the rookie line backer referred to his leadership, something you don't hear often from an NFL rookie.

"Leadership isn't always about being an actual leader as far as speaking out in front of everybody and being the spokesperson," Thomas said. "I feel like leadership is done everyday based off of what you do and how you do it. Whether it be about football or other things life related. I feel like leadership is kind of abstract. There's no specific way to be a leader."

Despite the fact that he is in the NFL and a big city, Thomas doesn't forget his small town roots and what got him to this point in the first place. His hard work and dedication to the game he loves has paved a way to achieving his dreams.

"Anything you want to achieve in life can be done," he said. "You just have to have the consistency and dedication to it. That's what I took out of this journey that I'm on."

Above all else, Thomas looked at his faith as a large part of his journey.

"You just have to find something that keeps you grounded and keeps you motivated each and every day," he said. "You have to strive to be the best version of yourself and you can't do that without faith. I feel like it's an important piece of life that you have to have to be successful."

The Browns will begin training camp in late July as they get set for their first pre season game against the Jets on August 3. All eyes will be on the rookie from Thomasville as he lives out his NFL dream.