METAIRIE, La. – Chris Olave’s first day at the New Orleans Saints refugee camp was Friday. The 11th decision in the NFL game, however, was already two weeks ago getting to know his new teammate, Michael Thomas, at his home in Southern California.
Thomas received his former Ohio State colleague at FaceTime shortly after enlisting – then invited Olave to come and live with him to study.
“I could not deny this,” said Olave, who stayed with Thomas for a week and a half before boarding a flight to New Orleans for a rookie match this week.
This was not the first time they had spent time together. Thomas shared a photo on a night of writing since he did the same last year.
“I feel like it was exactly a year ago,” Olave said. “It was great to have him there. And being on the same team will be great, I can’t wait.
“He showed love to me since college, so we texted each other from time to time… then it will make us better and make us stronger. “
Olave said he liked Thomas’ “dog” idea and laughed when he said he had seen it about two weeks ago.
“I see, man. I see how it works,” Olave said. “When he throws down, hits the ball, he gets angry. But he’s the one you want around you. I think it’s all right. He’ll call you on your bs.
“Then I like Mike as part of the team, even if I understand where he comes from. I see why he goes so hard.”
Olave already credits Washington Commanders star Terry McLaurin as a mentor and “his older brother” who imitated him as a member of the Ohio State team.
And he can now add Jarvis Landry to his impressive list of mentors after five-year-old Pro Bowler agreed a deal with Saints on Friday.
Olave said he heard the “big” story as he left the experiment.
“I can’t wait to learn from them, these two stories,” Olave said of Thomas and Landry. “I just started playing host to my teenage year in high school. Coming here and having Mike Thomas, Jarvis Landry helping me, I have a lot of progress, I can’t wait to get it done.
“I’ve watched a lot of movies on Jarvis, just a little bit of a run. I’ve watched a lot of movies about him in college, trying to get some things out of his game. And Mike is one of the best recipients in the game. The game, then I watch him. But to see them face-to-face, and to see how they work individually I feel like they have helped me a lot. “
The New Orleans’ opening room has made one of the most versatile performances for any team in the NFL this past season. The Saints finished 32nd in the league unfairly last year – largely due to Thomas’ serious injury, quarterback Jameis Winston and a disappointing line-up.
Now Thomas is expected to return after missing the season with a hamstring injury, along with newcomers Olave and Landry.
“(Landry) has obviously been the best player in our league. He’s a man who can move the chain. And we feel like a man of character, from the leadership, we can use it,” said the new Saints coach. Dennis Allen, who was asked if he had heard from LSU fans in the area who were enjoying the additions of Landry and Tyrann Mathieu.
“Well, yes, my whole community I think sent me a message in some way,” Allen said.
Referring to Olave, Allen said two days of a rookie camp is a “little example.” But so far 6-foot-1, 189-pounder is “what we think it will be.”
“A very fast guy, easy to change, a good runner,” Allen said. “And look, in the end, he’s the kind of person we wanted to bring into the house. And I think this is as important as anything.”