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The New Orleans Saints brace for the return of an elite receiver.
Michael Thomas took part in 11-on-11 drills for the first time in nearly two years on Saturday.
Thomas has been out with an ankle injury since the end of the 2020 season and suffered a setback in the 2021 season.
Head coach Dennis Allen said Thomas is becoming more confident in the strength of his ankle.
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“Honestly, there were a few times he landed on the ground,” Allen said via ESPN.
“That’s all part of the process of building that confidence. I think he’s in a good mentality now. I think he looks good physically. I’m excited about where he is.”
Thomas led the NFL in catches in 2018 and 2019 and set the NFL record for most receptions in a season (149) in 2019. He also led the NFL with 1,729 receiving yards that season and was named the Offensive Player of the Year .
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In each of his four NFL seasons, Thomas totaled at least 90 catches and 1,100 yards, with both numbers increasing year on year. He averaged 118 catches, 1,378 yards, and eight touchdowns per season.
He played in just seven games in 2020 and last played on January 17, 2021 in the NFC Divisional Round against eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Thomas did not participate in OTAs in June, but has been practicing, although limited, since the first day of training camp.
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The Saints open the season in Atlanta against the Falcons and Thomas will have to bond with quarterback Jameis Winston. Thomas last played when Drew Brees was the QB of the Saints.