Henry Thomas, a nose tackle, played in the NFL for 14 years for the Vikings, Patriots and the Lions. In his time in the NFL he recorded 93.5 sacks, over 800 tackles, and was twice elected to the Pro Bowl. Here is our interview with Henry Thomas, also known as “Hardware Hank”:
Two Teams You Played For (Detroit Lions and New England Patriots) Face Off This Weekend, Who Do You Expect To Win?
“Detroit, I think that Detroit is going to find a way to pressure Tom Brady. That’s the key, pressure Tom Brady and shut down the run. I mean the Lions have a very talented defensive line that can play both pass and run, and I think we’re gonna come up with the solution to stop the run and also Tom Brady to give Detroit a chance to win the game. Detroit and Arizona are my two dark horses to be in the playoffs.”
Did You Ever Meet William Clay Ford? What Can You Tell Me About Him?
“Yes I have, he was the nicest man. He was very loyal to his players. I mean he genuinely cared for his players. When I went to Detroit, I felt like the owner cared for his players. He cared about our well-being, about our comfort so we could perform at a high level. Because before when I was in Minnesota, there were ten to twelve owners, and I wouldn’t have know who they were even if I had hit them with my car. He made decisions based on caring for his players.”
What Your Greatest NFL Memory?
“My whole career was my greatest memory. The whole experience all together was a great experience for me. It would be very, very hard to break that down into one specific memory. There are so many subcategories.”
Do You Have Any Specific Games That Have Stood Out To You When You Look Back At Your Career?
“The game against Tampa when I was with Detroit my first year, was the first time I had more than ten sacks in a season.”
You Played In New England During Bill Belichick’s First Season With The Patriots, What Can You Tell Me About Him?
“He is a phenomenal coach, you know when he came to New England, I was in my twelfth season. Everyone talked about how he was a defensive-minded guru, and me being in my twelfth season being an undersized nose tackle all twelve years, that’s how I play the game. I knew a lot about the offense and defense, but I had so much more to learn under him.”
The Lions’ Offense Has Been Struggling, Do You Think They’ll Improve?
“Yes I think they will, Calvin is even more healthier than he was before and the Lions are going to find a way to run the ball. If you look at the successful teams this year, running the ball is crucial.”
You Were An Intern Coach At Indianapolis and Minnesota, Would You Ever Go Into Coaching In The Future?
“Yes of course, I want to do it so bad, I think I have so much to offer technique wise for any defensive line and player. I think I have some skill sets to be able to train guys in pass rushing as well as playing the run. I was an every down player, we never switched out. I played the run and the pass.
Who Was The Best Running Back You Played Against?
“Barry Sanders, it was so much better playing with him than against him.”
You Played In The NFL For A Long Time, Have You Experienced Any Health Issues From That?
“There are things that come up. I’ve got a knee bone on bone. I know replacing it is inevitable. I also have a shoulder that is tender, but I call that occupational hazards.”