Junfu Han-USA TODAY Sports

Junfu Han-USA TODAY Sports

49ers CB Ambry Thomas confident his skills will pay the California bills, eager to make NFL debut in hometown of Detroit

May 12, 2021 at 3:01 PM--

One thing is abundantly clear so far about 49ers rookie cornerback Ambry Thomas -- he's in no danger of falling short on confidence.

Thomas, who was selected by the 49ers in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft out of the University of Michigan, spoke with reporters Wednesday, two days before the 49ers kick off their rookie minicamp in Santa Clara. His confidence was on display throughout the media session, particularly after being asked about what he thought regarding the increased cost of living that will come from moving to the Bay Area from the Midwest.

"Immediately once I got the phone call (during the draft), I was happy, excited. And I thought about everything," Thomas said. "California, the taxes, and I started thinking about all that -- the cost of living. I'm like, 'Eh, kind of expensive. Very expensive.' But I'm just grateful for the opportunity, honestly. Skip the cost of living and all that right now. I feel like my play will take care of my pockets. Put it like that."

Wednesday was Thomas' first day at 49ers facilities after being drafted by the team on April 30. So far, it sounds like he's already feeling at home.

"I just got in the building today, this morning," Thomas said. "Really I've just been walking around, doing all the evaluations I have to, trying to get fitted for stuff, and stuff like that. But the facilities -- loving it. The people -- loving it, just welcoming me. I'm ready to be a part of this family right here. I'm loving the environment."

Speaking of home, Thomas will get the opportunity to make his NFL debut in his hometown of Detroit, assuming he's active for gameday when the 49ers open the season against the Lions at Ford Field on September 12. Thomas is clearly looking forward to the opportunity to play in front of his family and hometown fans, but he wants to make sure he does everything in his power to send those fans home unhappy.

"For that to be my first game, I'm really excited," Thomas said. "I'm really just ready to go out there and showcase what I can do and kind of give Detroit a little something just to show off for my family and the city itself. But we've got to put the beatdown on them. Real bad."

Here are a few more tidbits to come from Thomas's media session.

* Thomas on his hospital battle: Thomas went through a fight with colitis before his junior season at Michigan in 2019 and at one point thought he might have to sit out the entire year. But despite losing 35 pounds while being cooped up in the hospital for over a month, Thomas bounced back in time to get in a week of practice with the Wolverines before taking the field in the season opener.

"I suited up and I made plays," Thomas said. "That just shows what type of person I am. I just try to not let anything knock me. What you see is what you get with me, I feel like."

The experience in the hospital lit a fire under Thomas that helped eventually propel him into a career in the NFL.

"Just looking back on it, I feel like it was one of my greater points in my college career because it really turned on my dog mentality even more," Thomas said. "It just lit something up inside of me even more. Being in that hospital all those days and feeling myself deteriorating as days go by while other people were getting better that were healthy, it wasn't making me mad but I was feeling some type of way. I just knew that I got back right that I had to do whatever by any means to get back on that field and make plays."

* What to expect: What can fans expect to see from Thomas as a cornerback? He says he'll be able to perform wherever the 49ers place him, and that all he needs to do is get the playbook down in order for that to happen.

"I've got speed and I'm long in the defense we run," Thomas said. "If I'm at the nickel or the cornerback spot I can make plays on the ball -- make a lot of plays on the ball. Put me in a position to win, I feel like. I've just got to get used to the whole playbook, but once I feel like I got that, it's over. It's over."

* Hoping to be vocal: Thomas says he plans on eventually becoming a vocal leader on defense for the 49ers. It'll be one of his goals early in his career while he becomes acclimated with the NFL.

"At Michigan, I was like one of the voices of the defense," Thomas said. "I want to get myself to that point in this system where I feel comfortable enough with it where I can be another voice of communication."

* Number 1? Thomas wore No. 1 during his days at Michigan (a coveted jersey number that is a big part of Wolverines tradition) but he's uncertain if he'll be able to do the same with the 49ers. More may be known about that subject in the coming days.

"I'm not sure about the number situation. I'm waiting on the number situation also over here," Thomas said.

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