MIAMI GARDENS—Julius Thomas does this for him, not for anybody else.
When Thomas hauled in a nine-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter of the Dolphins’ 35-9 win over Denver this afternoon, he unveiled a unique celebration he’d been saving for his former team. He dropped to his knees and hopped on the ball in the end zone, which he said was meant to pantomime riding a bronco.
The general reaction on Twitter indicated not everyone was able to discern exactly what he intended—some speculated that it was suggestive—and the celebration was not shown on the Hard Rock Stadium video boards.
“Yeah, you’ve gotta see the beginning,” Thomas said. “If you don’t see the leg swing over the ball, then it’s tough. If you catch the end you’re like, ‘Ah, what’s going on?’”
Thomas caught three passes for 20 yards and a touchdown, his first score in three games.
It was his first time facing the Broncos, the team for which he played the first four seasons of his career. Thomas made the Pro Bowl for Denver in 2013 and ’14, when he totaled 108 receptions, 1,277 yards and 24 touchdowns.
“It’s fun,” he said. “I’ve got a little bragging rights with those guys. We always talked about what it’d be like playing against each other. It was exciting to be able go out there and make a big play and help our team.
“I just was thinking earlier this week, ‘Man, if I get an opportunity, you know you’ve gotta ride the bronco one time,’ so I had a little fun with it.”
Thomas did not rehearse his theatrics before performing them on the field, saying, “You don’t practice end zone celebrations. You just think them and if you remember it in the moment, you just go with it.”
He said it went exactly as he’d planned, and it didn’t bother him that people might have misunderstood. He also didn’t care that some of his teammates wrinkled their noses at it.
“I had some mixed reviews,” he said. “A lot of people thought it was creative. Some people, maybe it wasn’t their favorite one. But you don’t do a touchdown celebration to please anyone else but yourself, man. It’s your moment. You get like 20 seconds. It’s all yours.”
It would’ve helped if he had something more horse-shaped than a football, but that was the only thing available to him.
“If we had like a six-foot ball that I could’ve got some stirrups and got on, but I only had one prop,” Thomas said. “It was like high school drama class: just make the best of what we have. We didn’t have the Game of Thrones set professionals.”
This was a one-and-done celebration that he said only worked for the Broncos. When it was suggested that he should choreograph opponent-specific celebrations for each game, Thomas said that was a great idea and he will get to work on it.
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