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Camp Diary: Rookie Safety Phillip Thomas

Posted Jul 31, 2013

Hey Redskins Nation, this is rookie safety Phillip Thomas. Over the next three weeks, I'll provide you with a behind-the-scenes look at my first Redskins training camp, from my perspective.

Each of the three Redskins rookie defensive backs will take turns writing a daily diary on Redskins.com. To ask your question, tweet at them for next time.

What's up Redskins Nation? Just checking in again from my first NFL training camp, where I'm working hard and learning a lot.

One thing that's been different for me down here--and I love it--is the city of Richmond. I don't think I'm in Bakersfield, Calif. anymore! The east coast definitely has a different feel than the west coast, but I'm loving every minute so far.

To let you know a little bit about me, I grew up with my mom in Bakersfield, Ca. There’s three of us kids and I have two older brothers. I’m the youngest.

I’m a momma’s boy. I have a great relationship with my mom and she’s seen me through this whole process to the NFL.

She got married 10 years ago and I’m cool with my stepdad. He's very supportive of me and they actually just left training camp after being out here for a couple days.

The best part about being drafted was just to get drafted by my favorite team growing up. It was an amazing thing. Nobody in my family was a Redskins’ fan except for me. Now, everybody is converted.

I didn't go crazy with my first NFL paycheck, but I bought my brother some clothes. I gave my mom some money, of course, and really, that was it. It felt good to support them.

Since we play on the east coast, my family was looking up the Redskins schedule as soon as I got drafted, trying to see what the closest game was to Bakersfield. We play the Oakland Raiders in Week 4 and I will definitely have some family at the game.

I have a ton of people that want to come to that game. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to pay for all of them, but I will see what I can do. I definitely expect some fan support out there. It’s only about five hours from where I grew up.

My middle brother actually gets out of jail this year, sometime in October. He’s been incarcerated since I was 11 years old and has never seen me play football, not in college, high school or anything.

I’m really excited that he'll be getting out soon. I talked to him regularly after I got drafted and went to visit him.

It's a dream to not have to describe how my game went, but to have him watch. I want him to come see a Redskins game if he’s allowed to. If he could come out here, I would gladly get him out here.

As far as my athletic background, I didn't start playing tackle football until my freshman year of high school. I ran some track in high school, but I just really played football because I got tired of being after school for so long.

When track season came around, I used to run the relays to stay in shape for when football season came along. I was on the 4x400 and the 4x100 team, but really it was just to stay in shape.

Football was my focus but track was fun. We went to some big meets down in LA. I was just out there running. Some of those dudes have been running track for years, and I was just out there for fun.

I had to learn how to mark my steps for the relays and stuff. We had some miscues, but I don’t think I ever dropped a baton. No fumbles!

On the football field, I've always felt like a ballhawking safety. Even in high school, I felt like I was always able to get to the ball, either in the air or on the ground.

When I got into college, I felt I was really stepping my game up, especially after my sophomore year. Even at little Fresno State, they said I had potential, but I had just not shown it yet.

My sophomore year, I started and had decent numbers, but after that, I knew I had an NFL opportunity my junior year. I broke my ankle, so I didn’t play a full year. Senior year, though, I had a really good year and showed I had the potential to get to the NFL.

And here I am, looking to make the most of this opportunity. I have to get back to football, but tweet your questions at me (@Phil_Me16) so I can give you the scoop for next time. HTTR!

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