New England Patriots

Demaryius Thomas of the Houston Texans plays the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on November 4, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Demaryius Thomas admits he’s “a little rusty”. But the veteran wide receiver believes once that rust shakes off, he can still be the same dynamic pass-catcher he’s been for most of his career.

Thomas spoke to reporters for the first time since being activated from the PUP list on Sunday at Gillette Stadium, addressing his long road to recovery and comfort within the Patriots’ system. He looks like a safe bet to make the 53-man roster as evidenced by his mere presence in the locker room.

Despite being well behind other receivers in terms of practice reps with Tom Brady, Thomas has a greater pedigree than any receiver on the roster and has been close to Brady and Edelman all along. While he’s been unable to physically get himself up to speed, he’s been working on building trust with Brady in the playbook.

“My main thing is being in the right spot and catching the ball right now,” Thomas said. “I still have work to do, but it’s getting better and better every day.”

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 23: Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas of the Houston Texans makes a catch against free safety Avonte Maddox of the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA, PA – DECEMBER 23: Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas of the Houston Texans makes a catch against free safety Avonte Maddox of the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

The obvious question for Thomas is whether he can still run like he did in the prime of his career. He spent most of the offseason recovering from a torn Achilles suffered in December. The 31-year-old couldn’t be less concerned at this point.

“Oh, me? I still can go,” he replied. “Like I said, knock a little rust off and keep building the days.”

Bill Belichick’s thoughts on Thomas were predictably lukewarm in his Monday press conference. But the important thing is that he appears to be on the way to the Final 53™ in a suddenly crowded receiver group.

“We’ll just take it day by day,” Belichick said on Thomas. “Certainly he’s done some impressive things. But stringing them together [is important] and being able to do them on a consistent basis, and [he needs to] come back and do it again. That’s pretty much everybody’s situation. He just entered into it a little bit later.”

Thomas caught 90 passes for 1,083 yards and five touchdowns as recently as 2016. That was with Trevor Siemian throwing him the ball for 14 games. With Brady targeting him, the hope is that Thomas can regain some of that past production.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.