Redblacks sign former NFL DB Shamarko Thomas who was supposed to be the heir apparent to Troy Polamalu

Photo courtesy: Pittsburgh Steelers

The Ottawa Redblacks have signed former NFL defensive back Shamarko Thomas.

The five-foot-nine, 205-pound Thomas was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth round, 111th overall during the 2013 NFL Draft. He played and trained with Troy Polamalu, but never came close to being his heir apparent. Thomas suited up in 48 games in Pittsburgh prior to his contract expiring.

Thomas had stints with the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts, and Denver Broncos. In 66 career NFL games, he made 69 tackles, two tackles for loss, forced one fumble, and recovered one fumble. Through parts of six seasons, Thomas earned nearly $4 million in the NFL.

Thomas played NCAA football at Syracuse University. During his collegiate career, he started 43 games, recording 263 tackles, two interceptions and four sacks. As a senior in 2012, he was a first-team All-Big East Conference selection.

At the 2013 NFL Combine, Thomas ran a 4.42 laser-timed forty-yard dash and recorded a 40.5-inch vertical, and 11-foot, one-inch broad jump along with 28 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press.

Thomas most recently played for the DC Defenders in the XFL, recording 11 tackles, one tackle for loss, and defended one pass in four games during the shortened 2020 season.