DAVIE — When Dolphins safety Michael Thomas made a winning interception Sunday in his NFL debut against New England and found himself mobbed in the end zone by teammates who didn't even know his name, he quickly got a congratulatory text message from a fellow Stanford alum.
It was tackle Jonathan Martin, who left the Dolphins after allegations of harassment prompted him to leave the team in October.
That was one of many surprises in store for Thomas.
"That means a lot," Thomas said Tuesday. "Jonathan was one of my best friends at Stanford. I looked up to Jon."
"Michael Thomas, the new superstar," coach Joe Philbin said Tuesday.
Thomas, undrafted out of college, joined Miami last week off of the 49ers' practice squad. He was expected to play only on special teams against the Patriots, but then cornerbacks Brent Grimes and Nolan Carroll left injured and nickel Jimmy Wilson switched to corner. During the final seconds, Thomas picked off a Tom Brady pass intended for Austin Collie. Thomas fell to his back and soon was in tears.
"I thought about all the hardships I had been through to try to get to this one moment," he said. "Later, when I talked to my mom, it was really emotional. … The whole family was crying."
Bucs moves: The Bucs put special-teams player Russell Shepard on season-ending injured reserve because of a foot injury suffered Sunday against San Francisco. Shepard, a rookie receiver from LSU, had six tackles on special teams and forced two fumbles. Tampa Bay added receiver Tommy Streeter to the practice squad, cutting former USF defensive tackle Richard Clebert to make room.
Record boot(s): The Pro Football Hall of Fame will get the right cleat Denver's Matt Prater used to kick the longest field goal in league history. "I said I'd give them to them after the season," Prater said two days after a 64-yard kick against Tennessee.
Hartley cut: The Saints released kicker Garrett Hartley, two days after he had a field goal blocked and hooked one wide in a 27-16 loss at St. Louis.
BENGALS: Punter Kevin Huber is scheduled for surgery Friday for his season-ending broken jaw, suffered Sunday on a hit by Pittsburgh's Terence Garvin.
BRONCOS: Defensive end Jeremy Mincey signed days after Jacksonville released him.
COWBOYS: Linebacker Justin Durant (hamstring) went on IR and linebacker Kyle Bosworth and defensive tackle Drake Nevis were released.
STEELERS: Linebacker LaMarr Woodley went on IR with a strained right calf.
Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report.