"I hate the harness they put on me, but I’ve got to wear it," Thomas said. "I feel like I can’t high-point anything, but that’s the way my cards are dealt right now. ... The first day of practice, I tried to go out there without it, but EK [director of equipment Erik Kennedy], we had a talk and then I came back to my senses."
Asked a follow-up question about whether the harness would specifically restrict his movement, Thomas went in another direction.
"If it’s going to talk the opposing offense into throwing my way, yeah," he said.
Thomas played with the harness in the Super Bowl after suffering the shoulder injury in the NFC Championship Game last year. He underwent surgery in the offseason and did not play at all in the preseason.
"In my mind, it made me a little bit sharper," Thomas said. "I depended on Kam to say, ‘You need to get on this side or that side.’ It put me in my playbook a little bit more. I rely on instinct, and Kam was more the mental guy."
Added defensive coordinator Kris Richard: "That’s been the biggest part of Earl’s development over his years, the development of his mental game. The time that he’s had away early in camp, during the preseason games, him just standing and watching from afar has really helped develop the mental side of his game. He saw the game from a different angle, and he’s been out there in the fire, so the opportunity for him to sit on the sideline, take a look, take a step back, take a deep breath and see how everything developed, I think it helped him a lot."