From Retired, To Super Bowl

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"To be able to come now and play one game, and for it to be the Super Bowl, you just can't write it up like this. It's been incredible."

But, reports The Early Show correspondent Melinda Murphy, that's exactly what Jeff Thomason is doing: suiting up and practicing. "It's crazy," he readily admits.

And here's the catch: Thomason retired from the National Football League two years ago.

"When I hung up the cleats the last time, I pretty much was guaranteed never to come back, 'cuz I was 33, and the phones weren't ringing at all with a whole lot of interest in me playing again."

That is, Murphy points out, until Monday, when his good buddy and ex-teammate Chad Lewis called him up. Lewis was hurt in The Philadelphia Eagles' last game. His question? Could Thomason play in the Super Bowl?

"I told a bunch of people," Thomason says, "and they looked at me like i was crazy or something."

The call came to his office, where he's training to be a real estate development manager, says Toll Brothers, Inc. Construction Manager Jim Snyder, "We were all jumping and screaming and hollering. We were more excited than he was."

Perhaps nobody is more excited than his three kids and his wife, Blake. "I'd love to see him catch that ball a couple of times if he gets the opportunity," she says.

"The winning touchdown?" Murphy asked.

"The winning touchdown would be great. We'll take it if we can get it," Blake Thomason chuckled.

At home, there are only a few reminders of Jeff Thomason's football past -- ten years in the NFL, the last three with Philadelphia.

"This is my first Super Bowl," Blake Thomason says, and I'm watching my husband. So, what more could you ask for?"

But this isn't Jeff Thomason's first Super Bowl. He's been there twice before, with the Green Bay Packers. He lost one and won one.

But, observes Murphy, this Super Bowl is perhaps most special.

"I get chills at night, thinking about being out there again," Jeff Thomason confesses. "I got chills watching it on TV the last couple of years, so to be back on that field, I can't put it in words."

Thomason is also getting bruises, at practice, and has less than two weeks to get ready. "I'm pretty sore right now," he says, "but I'm getting used to it. …(I've been) spending a lot of time in the cold tub lately."

Luckily for him, Thomason has been in six triathlons in the past year, which helps -- sort of.

Is he worried he'll get hurt? "I can't think about the negative side of this. …I just have to go out there and stay as positive as I can, and just go have fun."

Thomason says he thinks this will probably be his actual "swan song. I really do.If I can finish it the way I hope to finish it, I'll be thrilled."

Murphy adds that Thomason says he does expect to see game action during the Super Bowl.

And they paycheck's not bad, either: Every player on the winning team will get $68,000, which would nearly double Thomason's current annual salary. The loser's share is $36,500.
  • Brian Dakss

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