When scouts wrote the book on safety Shamarko Thomas heading into the draft this year, one of the leading takeaways was that Thomas was a big hitter.
He’s only 5-foot-9, but Thomas runs fast and uses his body to regularly generate massive collisions with opposing players. The Steelers selected him in the fourth round with the hope that he’d be delivering those hits in their secondary for years to come.
In today’s NFL, though, big hits often come with a heavy price tag for the players who dole them out. Thomas said that the Steelers have been working with him on proper tackling form to help avoid the fines that the league hands out on a weekly basis, but admitted that he’s expecting to get some envelopes from the league at his locker over the course of the season.
“I’m gonna get some fines, I’m not gonna lie,” Thomas said, via Tom Robinson of the Virginian-Pilot. “That’s just how I play. It’s football.”
The Steelers don’t have much interest in seeing their players get fined repeatedly and Thomas will have to be careful that his hits don’t also lead to flags that get in the way of Pittsburgh’s chances to win games. If that becomes too big a part of the way he plays, the potential risks of having him on the field could outweigh the potential rewards and block him from the kind of role envisioned when he was drafted in April.
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