Thomas had two tackles (one solo) against Denver on Sunday. An unrestricted free agent, he finished the regular season with 12 tackles (10 solo) and a fumble recovery. Thomas played just 20 defensive snaps in 2015. With Will Allen having a career year (80 tackles, including four sacks, an interception and two forced fumbles), Thomas was used primarily on special teams. Even if the Steelers resign Thomas, his role will likely remain the same in 2016 unless they opt not to resign Allen, who is also an unrestricted free agent.
Third-year safety Shamarko Thomas has the unenviable task of replacing future Hall of Famer Troy Polamalu in the Steelers defensive backfield, but Thomas is trying his best to fill some very big shoes, per The Associated Press. Thomas worked with Polamalu last season and remains in touch with the safety in order to pick his brain for advice. Thomas' first two seasons have been limited due to injury and ineffectiveness, as he registered just five tackles in 11 games, mostly on special teams. "I'm definitely sorry that Troy's gone, and I can't replace him,'' Thomas said. ''He's a Hall of Famer. I'm not worried about the job right now. I'm just out here trying to compete and trying to get involved with my team and just working hard."
Shamarko Thomas took a step backward in 2014. He must be prepared to take a big step forward in 2015. That's the mandate from Steelers coach Mike Tomlin in regard to his third-year safety following the retirement of veteran standout Troy Polamalu. Thomas appears set to start in his place - and those are huge cleats to fill. "If given the opportunity, I think (Thomas) better be ready to seize it," Tomlin told the team website. "I know that's his mentality, like the mentality of all our guys. But when you ask about open competition that's exactly what it is. I don't now that we have any pre-subscribed notions about how we're going to come out of this thing." Thomas, who dealt with a hamstring issue last season, played in just 11 games and contributed only five tackles after registering 22 the previous year.
Steelers tackle Marcus Gilbert and linebacker Ryan Shazier have both been designated as questionable for the Sunday game against New Orleans. Meanwhile cornerback Cortez Allen (thumb) and nose tackle Steve McLendon have been ruled out. The rest of those placed on the Friday injury report are probable. That group includes wide receiver Martavis Bryant (illness), cornerback Ike Taylor (forearm) and safety Shamarko Thomas (hamstring).
The Steelers declared safety Troy Polamalu (knee), linebacker Ryan Shazier (ankle), cornerback Ike Taylor (forearm), nose tackle Steve McLendon (shoulder), safety Shamarko Thomas (hamstring), quarterback Landry Jones and guard Chris Hubbard inactive for Monday's game at Tennessee.