For Pierre Thomas, Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons has been 10 months in the making.
After being released by the New Orleans Saints in March, the veteran running back bided his time at home in Chicago, working out and waiting for the phone to ring.
Opportunity finally came calling when the San Francisco 49ers signed him to a one-year deal on Tuesday.
"All I could do was get ready for this chance. And when the 49ers gave it to me, I was ready." Thomas told reporters Friday afternoon. "I finally found a home, and I'm happy and ready to move forward.
"I can't wait for this first game because I'm going to show a lot of people that I still have it."
In his first eight NFL seasons, all with the Saints, Thomas amassed 3,745 rushing yards, 2,608 receiving yards and 40 total touchdowns. The versatile weapon said he worked out for the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs before landing with the 49ers.
Check out exclusive photos from this week's practice as the San Francisco 49ers prepare to take on the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday.
This week in practice, Thomas had a crash course in learning San Francisco's pass protections and zone run-blocking system. According to Thomas, terminology is the biggest difference between the 49ers and the Saints playbooks.
"When I don't get something right, I put that pressure on myself to get better," Thomas said. "I'm coming into their family, and I want to make sure I fit in because when I get out there, I'm not going to mess up. I'm going to make this 49ers family proud for bringing me in."
With Pierre Garçon (foot) and Mike Davis (hand) ruled out, Thomas figures to play a significant role in San Francisco's game plan versus the Falcons, a team he has faced 16 times in his career. Kendall Gaskins and fellow newcomer Shaun Draughn are the other two active running backs.
Thomas is confident that his offsite training will allow him to hit the ground running in his 2015 debut. The adrenaline boost won't hurt either.
"I've missed the game so much," Thomas said. "I just missed the excitement, the guys and the crowd when they're yelling. That energy makes me happy, and makes me want to go out there and do the best job I can. And now that it's around the corner, I'm excited to play."