But Thomas, who said he's "addicted to perfection," won't settle for anything less.
"I'm always chasing perfection and trying to win every rep. I'm a competitor; I don't prepare to lose, I prepare to execute and make the play. It's a process, it's a learning process. But the good thing about the Saints: We have a lot of great competition on the other side of the ball," Thomas said Tuesday. "I feel like it won't take long, but you've got to get in the groove; you've got to get some things down with the coaching and the players I'm surrounded by. I'm not really worried, I'm just taking it one day at a time."
Thomas played in just three games in 2022 due to a toe injury and missed part of the 2020 season and the entire 2021 season with an ankle injury. But he said he didn't feel as if there were any mental hurdles he needed to overcome once the doctors cleared him to fully participate this summer.
"Once I passed my physical and they gave me the green light and they checked all the details they needed to check, I trusted it," Thomas said. "Like I said, I have real strong faith in God, and I know it was a process to get here. And I didn't cheat that process. So, eventually, if you don't cheat that process and you stick to the grind, you'll reap the rewards and the benefits. So, it allowed me to come back out here. And, like I said, I'm just fine-tuning everything. Missed a decent amount of time. So, for me to say, like, 'Yeah, I'm 100 [out here]' No. But I'm moving in that direction every day."
Thomas has participated in all six practices of training camp so far, although some practices have been much lighter than others. That's due to a planned schedule the Saints have created for Thomas and for some of the other veteran players in an attempt to keep their snaps and reps at a reasonable volume.
"There's a number of guys that we have some planned limited practice days, some planned extra days off," Saints coach Dennis Allen said. "So, we've got a plan for Mike. He's been doing a good job going through that plan and trusting in what we're doing, and I think, every day, you see just a little bit more improvement out of him, more and more confidence, and I think it's been good to see."
Monday was Thomas' heaviest day of practice since opening camp, with quarterback Derek Carr going to him early and often during 11-on-11 drills. Thomas said the relationship between him and Carr, who was signed in free agency, has "been progressing tremendously."
But even though it's been positive news so far, Thomas said he still uses people who doubt him and his return as motivation, noting the chip on his shoulder is "very big and grows every day."
"I kinda just fuel off the doubt," he said. "People might call it crazy or people might call it, like, I don't know," Thomas said. "But some people say if you don't have any haters, you ain't popping. I mean, I really, like, use it as fuel for me. I mean if you doubt me, first off, you're probably not in my shoes. And now I'm just gonna go harder and then I'm gonna prove you wrong. ... It's just like a whole mental thing. If you've got a strong mind, anybody could doubt you, it don't matter. I've been blessed to be in this position. And all I know is it's about my craft and perfecting it."
He added: "I just want to come out here and play football, go hard Point A to Point B, catch a lot of passes, move the chains, do the things we're used to doing and people are used to seeing us do. And just help this organization win. And that's what this game is about, it's about winning. It ain't about he say, she say, the doubt ... The only thing that matters is winning these games and scoring these points and moving the chains and staying healthy, being there when guys need you and hanging banners and stuff like that and playing for the Super Bowl."