Originally enrolled at the University of Washington in 2000, Packers cornerback Joey Thomas participated in spring drills and was well into fall camp when Husky coaches wanted him to make the move from cornerback to safety.
With a desire only to play corner, Thomas transferred to Montana State just a week-and-a-half before the Bobcats' first game. He was in the starting lineup for the team's second contest.
A four-year starter at cornerback, Thomas led the Bobcats with four interceptions, and the Big Sky Conference with 15 passes defensed his senior season. By the end of his college career, Thomas was regarded as the best shut-down cornerback in Division I-AA.
It was there that the Packers noticed Thomas' speed (4.4 in the 40-yard dash) and his collegiate experience playing bump-and-run coverage.
While the Packers had Thomas graded as a second-round value, Thomas slipped to the third-round, where the Packers made him the 70th player selected in the 2004 NFL draft.
Overcoming the obstacle of playing for a small school in a small conference in Division I-AA to being drafted in the third-round by the Green Bay Packers is no small achievement, but in our latest round of Random Questions, Thomas insists it's only the beginning.
Packers.com: What, if anything, concerns you the most about your first year in the NFL?
Thomas: "I wouldn't say I'm worried about it, but just the growth process that any rookie would go through. And just getting acclimated to the system and all the small things that it takes to be a professional football player. I think those are the biggest things that I'll go through during the transition. I think once you learn all the small stuff, everything else becomes easier."
How is your adjustment to Green Bay going?
"I've really only seen my hotel and the stadium, so I really haven't had a chance to get out that much. But so far, so good. It seems like a great place to play football, with all the tradition, and I'm actually looking forward to seeing Green Bay and the town because I haven't seen much of it yet."
What was your prior knowledge of the Packers before you arrived in Green Bay?
"Just that they have great tradition and winning is not optional here. It's just what they do. And you figure that with any great tradition, there's a great work ethic behind it, because winning doesn't come easy."
What is one word you want people to use to describe how you play the game?
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
"My birthday. It's just fun to get together with your family and friends. Really, if you think about it, on your birthday you should be celebrating you mom. But I also like getting all the presents. I'm never going to back away from people giving me presents."
Why did you pick your major?
"I majored in family science because I want to work with kids. I want to work with troubled youth, kids that have gotten off course or youth that may be in an all-boys home or youth that may have a criminal record. I just want to work with those kinds of kids to try to lead them in the right direction. That's the area I want to focus on, but really I just want to work with all kinds of kids."
Who is your favorite musician?
"Mary J. Blige."
What players did you try to emulate growing up?
"Who didn't want to be like Deion (Sanders)? Everyone wants to be like Deion. He's the man. But there's only one Deion, that's the problem."
If you could play another sport professionally, what would it be?
Do you have any superstitions or pregame rituals?
"Normally when I have a good game, I tend to keep playing with that same undershirt until I don't play as well."
What's the greatest college football game you've ever seen or been a part of?
"The best one I played in was during my junior year against our rival, the University of Montana. We wound up winning, 10-7. It was a snowstorm and our team hadn't won that game in about 16 years. We had to win for us to go to the playoffs and for us to pull that out on their home field -- not having beat them in 16 years and with the snowstorm and all -- it was just a great feeling."
Speaking of snowstorms, what type of horror stories have you heard about the weather in Green Bay?
"Very similar. I've already been exposed to it and my thought process is it can't be any worse than it was in Montana. I played in 10-below zero there. We didn't have heated benches and heater fans. We didn't get them until my senior year. So if it was cold, you just froze. And we didn't have any indoor facilities so we were out there five days a week, in the snow."
Where are you from and what is the best thing about your hometown?
"I'm from Seattle. The best thing there is my family. They come first and just having them there is the most important part."
PB&J or Grilled Cheese?
"Grilled cheese. But they're neck and neck. You can't ask me that, that's cold."
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
"Africa. I've never been there and I've always been curious about it."
What is the biggest adversity you've had to overcome?
"My whole life was full of adversity. Junior high to high school to college. My biggest thing is just overcoming the boundaries of being successful. My entire life I was told that I wouldn't be, I couldn't be and I didn't have what it took to be successful and there was no way that I would make it. And the fact that I am going to graduate from college and I'm in the position to play professional football is an accomplishment. But it's an accomplishment that's not finished yet. I've been proving the doubters and the non-believers wrong my entire life. So my entire life is a testimony to overachieving."
Besides the Super Bowl, what is the one sporting event you would like to attend?
"The NBA Finals. I'm a huge basketball fan and I love watching The Finals. That's where it's at. I would like to be there for the entire series, games 1-7. But to be there for the last games, 5,6 or 7, I think that's a great moment right there."
What is your favorite TV show?
What is your favorite magazine?
Do you have any nicknames?
Do you have any tattoos, if so, what do they mean?
"I have a few. One stands for pleasure and pain. It has the "happy now-cry later" faces.
"Another one reads "unbelieved in," because that's what I've been my entire life.
"This is a rose falling into some fire. The meaning behind this is kind of like the expression "a rose that grew through concrete." I'm not really supposed to be in the situation that I'm in, so I've been blessed and fortunate.
"On my hand I have the word "faith." Without faith, at the end of the day you don't have anything. That's all I can take with me.
"I've got plans for another one on my back, but I can't tell you what that is right now."
Can you cook? If so, what's your specialty?
"Nope. I can't cook a lick. If it's not Ramen Noodles or boiling water, I can't do it."
Who's the first person you call after a game?
"My dad. If he's not at the game, I'll usually call him. I'll always get his analysis.
"I come from a straight-forward family and they don't have any problem telling me what I did wrong. If I have a good game, he'll tell me I did ok. He's never going to say that I was ballin'.
"But he's always going to give it to me honestly. And that's what keeps me striving to be the best. I want to be the best and at the end of the day, I want to be considered the greatest. It's a lot of hard work to put in and I have a long way to go to get there. I'm a work in progress. I'm just trying to learn and get better and if I continue to get better at a rapid pace, you never know what can happen."