Michael Thomas’ only touchdown of Sunday’s game against the Rams couldn’t have come at a better time: A 72-yard dagger over Marcus Peters that put an exclamation point on his 12-catch, 211-yard day. Thomas gouged the Rams’ defense, but the real highlight of the day came after that final touchdown that put the Saints up 45-35, when Thomas went to the goal post to pull out a cell phone and pay tribute to former Saints receiver Joe Horn.
Horn, with 7,622 yards, is No. 3 in Saints history among receivers, trailing only Marques Colstson and Eric Martin. Thomas put himself in the top 10 of that list on Sunday, passing Henry Childs and settling with 3,262 yards. By the time this season is done, he could well be up to No. 8, behind some of Drew Brees’ past favorite targets, with Lance Moore, Devery Henderson and Jimmy Graham the next three players above him on the list.
Horn was incredibly touched by Thomas’ tribute, and it’s safe to say that the NFL’s No. 4 receiver this season with 880 yards has a big fan.
“When I saw him bring out that cellphone, I teared up,” Horn said, via NOLA.com. “That’s something that some kids don’t do, to pay homage to an old soul. For him to do it on a national stage took a lot of courage. I’m humbled.”
Horn added, “I’m his biggest fan now. My family and I owe him.”
Even though Thomas got a 15-yard penalty for his antics, he said it’s a moment he’s been thinking about since joining the Saints.
“I loved the celebration,” Thomas said, per NOLA.com. “I loved the swagger that he brought. I love how it got the crowd going. I definitely was thinking about it, but I’m happy I waited for that moment.”
According to Jeff Duncan, Horn immediately bought a Thomas jersey after the touchdown.
Horn said he was working out in Mississippi when he saw it, but he’ll be rocking the new threads when he heads back to New Orleans.
“I’ll always appreciate Saints fans for all they did for me,” he said. “I will always love the city of New Orleans and when I come back there again I’m going to be wearing my Michael Thomas jersey.”
The Saints are now 7-1 on the season, and Thomas is catching plenty of people’s eyes. He always seems to be open, and he’s caught 70 of the 79 targets this season. Sunday was Thomas’ first 100-yard game since Week 3 against the Falcons, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. His celebration hearkened back to the diva wars from when Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens were lighting up the NFL, and despite the 15-yard penalty, it’s clear the Superdome loved the tribute to a franchise great.
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