FRISCO, Texas — For safety Juanyeh Thomas, making the 53-cut on Tuesday was a huge achievement that was over a year in the making for the 2022 undrafted free agent out of Georgia Tech.
After a big training camp and preseason that saw him be elite in coverage and open-field tackling along with intercepting Trevor Lawrence, Thomas' play put him deep in the conversation to make the final roster and it was cemented with Tuesday's decision to keep him in the building.
"Earlier, I had talked to my mom and it was very emotional on both ends," Thomas said. "She said she knew this day was gonna come, that she was proud of me and that she loved me. It's something I've been working very hard for for the past year. I'm just happy and ready to work."
Thomas learned the news in a team meeting on Tuesday morning.
"They told me and I had smiles," he said. "It was the moment I had been waiting on. It hasn't hit me yet because I'm a ballplayer and I'm just ready to work, but it'll probably hit me when I get back home."
Coming in as an undrafted free agent in 2022, learning and soaking in knowledge behind Donovan Wilson, Malik Hooker and Jayron Kearse was crucial towards Thomas' growth and success this preseason.
"Patience was huge for me last year," he said. "Everybody is used to being the guy in college, so when you get to a place where you have real dudes here, it's like 'oh man.' But I took it as a plus when you sit behind guys like Dono, Malik, JK. Learning from them and patience was definitely a thing. I'm very glad I went through that."
Thomas honed in on that role as a student to the experienced and talented safety room in training camp this season, and he sees it as a big reason why he will be on the flight to New York next week.
"Learning from last year, just being able to be a student is important," he said. "I feel like this year, I was more so a student because every day I was learning something different. I tried to get better at that the whole camp."
Moving forward, a rotational role on defense seems most likely, but special teams and any other role he will have to step into will be met by encouragement from Thomas who wants nothing more than the team goal at the end of the day.
"I'm trying to help this team win a Super Bowl in any place," he said. "Special teams, knowing my role and being the best person in my role."