Sometimes it’s enough for a player to be in the right place at the right time.

Just ask Larry Brown about that.
 
The cornerback for the Dallas Cowboys happened to be in the perfect spot not once, but twice – in a Super Bowl – enabling him to grab two back-breaking interceptions that helped the Cowboys hold off the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX.
 
Not only did his plays lead to a championship ring and Super Bowl MVP honors, but also great riches; Brown signed a hefty contract with Oakland in the following offseason.
 
Last January, the New York Giants’ Devin Thomas was a player who was in the right place at the right time in OT of the NFC Championship Game in San Francisco.
 
Thomas had also made a huge play in the fourth quarter of the game, setting up a New York TD that gave the visitors the lead.
 
Without the two plays that Thomas made, who knows if the Giants would have even reached the Super Bowl. 
 
Situation 1 (about 3-plus minutes into the 4thquarter):
 
  • The 49ers lead Giants 14-10 as Giants punt the ball away from inside their 20-yard line.
  • Kyle Williams appears to try to stay away from S. Weatherford’s 49-yard punt as it lands around the 29-yard line, but the ball takes a funny bounce and glances off of Williams’ knee.
  • Williams inexplicably freezes as he watches the ball bounce away and Devin Thomas, who enters the picture coming downfield at full speed, scoops up the ball easily.
  • After a lengthy video review, the ball is correctly awarded to the Giants.
  • Seven plays later, Eli Manning throws a TD pass to put New York ahead 17-14.
 
On this play, Thomas simply outworked and outhustled everyone else on the field.  Despite being pushed far out of bounds by a pair of San Francisco blockers early in the play, Thomas kept flying downfield, never stopping to wonder about whether or not the ball hit Williams.  Thomas simply did what football players are supposed to do:  he recovered the bouncing ball.
 
Situation 2 (OT):
 
  • The Giants punted on fourth down, with Weatherford booting the ball from about his own 33-yard line.
  • Williams fields the punt at about the 19 and starts upfield.
  • Giants rookie Jacquian Williams seems nearly overrun the ball-carrier, but as he reaches out and whacks Kyle Williams’ arm in passing, the 49ers’ returner loses control of the ball.
  • The ball bounces right toward Devin Thomas, who falls to ground to cover the ball at the San Francisco 24.
  • Five plays later, Lawrence Tynes boots the game-winning FG, and the Giants are on their way to the Super Bowl.
 
Thomas had just one blocker to deal with on this punt, and he worked himself down the field and was in the perfect spot to recover the loose ball.  He didn’t have to fight for it – it bounced right to him.  Moments later, the Giants were NFC champions.
 
THOMAS ANNOUNCED his retirement from the NFL this past week, at the age of 25.
 
While he certainly won’t be remembered for putting up amazing numbers in his four pro seasons, he should always be remembered (at least by Giants fans) for his special teams heroics in the NFC title game.
 
The second-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft (out of Michigan State) played for three teams in his four pro seasons:
 
  • Washington Redskins (2008-2010)
  • Carolina Panthers (2010)
  • New York Giants (2010-2011)
 
Career receiving totals:
  • 55 games played / 11 starts
  • 43 receptions for 482 yards
  • 3 receiving TDs and 1 rushing TD
 
Career special teams statistics:
 
  • 60 kick returns with a 24.1 return average
  • Long return of 42 yards
  • 3 career special-teams forced fumbles
 
Career Super Bowl celebrations:  1