Fall 2022

Bengals' Michael Thomas goes from unsigned to Super Bowl: 'God's plans are greater than ours'

When the NFL season started, defensive back Michael Thomas was without a team and completely at peace with his situation, even if that meant the end of his career.

Then the Cincinnati Bengals called after their Week 4 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was signed to the team’s practice squad on Oct. 5, and four months later he’s preparing for the Super Bowl after getting on the field in all three of Cincinnati’s playoff games.

>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more stories where sports and faith connect <<

“God’s plans are far greater than ours, man … I wasn’t signed anywhere but I wasn’t stressing,” Thomas said on an episode of the Sports Spectrum Podcast this week. “I knew God had a plan for me regardless of what that is, but I was very content and ready to transition if I needed to.”

The 31-year-old was promoted to the active roster Nov. 15 and made two tackles in his debut, a 32-13 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders. He has seen the field in every game since and recorded eight tackles in the Bengals’ regular-season finale.

Primarily used on special teams, Thomas brings nine years of NFL experience to the young Bengals roster, including a Pro Bowl appearance from 2018 as a member of the New York Giants. He spent his rookie season in 2012 on the San Francisco 49ers practice squad after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent out of Stanford. Thomas could only watch as his team reached the Super Bowl that year, always hoping he would get a chance to return and feature in the game.

Thanks to the Bengals, he will be doing just that on Sunday.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Mike Thomas (@michael31thomas)

“To sign with a team and still get another opportunity to play and help contribute and get all the way to the AFC championship, win it, and another chance at a Super Bowl, I mean, a lot of emotions, man,” Thomas said on the podcast. “I was crying after [the AFC championship] game.”

He took to social media following the upset of the Kansas City Chiefs, giving glory to God on Instagram.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Mike Thomas (@michael31thomas)

Throughout the season, Thomas would thank God in Instagram posts before taking the field on Sundays. The ritual has continued in the postseason.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Mike Thomas (@michael31thomas)

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Mike Thomas (@michael31thomas)

Thomas has already helped the Bengals ease years of bad playoff memories, as the team got its first postseason win since 1990 and is playing in the Super Bowl for the first time since 1989. The significance of the journey he’s been on with the Bengals this season has not been lost on Thomas.

“The support is real out here, man,” he said on the podcast. “You just feel it. You just feel it, man, and I wouldn’t want to be a part of any other group. I’m so glad God graced me with this experience.”

Kickoff from SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. The game will be broadcast on NBC.

RELATED STORIES:
Rams punter Johnny Hekker knows ‘God is on the throne’ as he pursues Super Bowl title
DE Trey Hendrickson thankful for his ‘Lord & Savior’ as he leads Bengals to Super Bowl
Cooper Kupp’s wife Anna: ‘We have prayed for a season to glorify our Savior Jesus Christ’
WATCH: ‘Weekly Slant’ Super Bowl Edition w/ Dan Orlovsky, Nick Foles & Bill Curry
Faith-fueled Cooper Kupp, 1st 2,000-yard WR, delivers again as Rams reach Super Bowl
Rams backup TE Kendall Blanton steps up big, thanks God as L.A. heads to Super Bowl
‘God is Good’: Kicker Evan McPherson sends Bengals to first Super Bowl since 1988