Feel Good Friday: J.T. Thomas is as big a contributor off the field as on it
I am a firm believer in ‘what goes around, comes around . . . Whatever you may call it–-luck, karma, blessings–-it’s out there.
This week, after being a free-agent for just a couple short hours, Mountaineer J.T. Thomas reached an agreement with the New York Giants for 3 years, $12 million (including $4.5 million guaranteed).
If you aren’t good with math, I’ll help you out. He will make more money this year with the Giants then he did in his first four NFL seasons combined!
Regardless the size of his contact, Thomas has always been generous. He set the tone early on in his career, getting some national attention as early as his rookie season.
In wake of his new signing, WVUPros would like to highlight some of the awesome things Thomas has done with his NFL fame.
Thomas has an extra place in his heart for those with special needs and has always had a heart for giving back. His younger brother, Jared, is autistic.
“Maybe it’s because my younger brother is dealing with autism. That’s what kind of jump-started me when it comes to special needs children,” Thomas said in an interview with West Virginia Illustrated. “Maybe it’s that or maybe it’s the fact that I was raised by my mom in a very loving family and we always gave back.”
In addition to his own J.T. Thomas Foundation for disabled children, Thomas serves on the board for the HEAL Foundation in Jacksonville. HEAL (HEALing Every Autistic Life) uses various events and experiences to assist autistic children and their families.
He gained a lot of attention in his rookie season when he accompanied eighth-grader Joslyn Levell, who suffers from spina bifida, to her school prom. Thomas met Joslyn in Morgantown where she rode the same school bus as Jared. She was sad about not having a date to prom, and Thomas stepped in to give her the incredible experience he believed she deserved.
That isn’t his only teenaged buddy. In 2012, Thomas made a special connection with an epileptic fan, 14-year-old Anthony Grandberry, in Chicago at a Bears holiday party. Thomas surprised Anthony with tickets to the Super Bowl and drove to Indianpolis with him to take in the game. It didn’t end there. Thomas also arranged for Anthony to attend a weeklong summer camp for children with epilepsy.
Some of you might remember his Ready Ready Roadtrip, chronicled on social media, where Thomas drove a fan with friends from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Chicago, IL stopping at various epilepsy treatment centers along the way and raising awareness for the cause.
With all the generosity he showed during the beginning of his NFL career, I have no doubt that the best is yet to come for J.T. Thomas – both on and off the field.