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Feb. 4, 1997

Q&A with Zach Thomas

Middle LB/Miami Dolphins & Tech All American-1994-95&1995-96

How would you describe your rookie season with the Miami Dolphins?

"You know I thought it was pretty successful. It could have been better. I am just happy to be there. I am working hard right now to get better for next year because you know we got ten picks in the first 5 rounds. We got a lot of money to spend. They are doing contract negotiations with Darin Smith. We are going to get a lot of free agents. We are going to be the team of the future. We had seven rookies starting this year, so it is going to much better in the future."

What do you enjoy about playing in the NFL?

"It's a business and I like that. You can do something that you have always loved and you can have a job as well. You don't last long. That's what the NFL stands for- not for long! You got to enjoy it while you can. That's why I am trying to lift and run and do all that stuff so I can stay in as long as possible."

What is one of the worst things about playing in the NFL?

"It is hard on the body and it is hard on you mentally. That is the worst thing. It will kill you mentally. You have to keep a strong mind. That is what Jimmy always taught us. That is why I am glad I am there. It's great weather and Jimmy's making changes."

What do you think about Byron Hanspard and his future in the NFL?

"I think he will do well. Once he shows what he's got at the combine this week he'll surprise a lot of people. He's got speed, he's got it all. He is going to be a great back in the future and he's got his priorities straight. You can tell that. That is another reason he'll go good in the draft."

What is one piece of advice that you would give him about the NFL?

"Well, one thing when you go in you just have to play your game. I think that you can't worry about the guys in front of you. You just have to play hard because if you try to make plays you won't make them. Just be yourself like you were in college. It is just harder on you mentally. Just keep a strong mind. That's what I'm trying to do. I'm telling you, it's good to you but people just don't know how much work it takes in the NFL. They think you just play on Sundays. It takes a lot of work."

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