2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Chiefs' De'Anthony Thomas making big statement

    2014-08-02 15:00

(Eds: Incorporates FBN--Chiefs Injuries. With AP Photos.)
By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) - The diminutive dude wearing the No. 1 jersey took the swing pass near the far sideline.

He made the first defender miss, turned up field and made a couple more miss, and then wound his way all the way to the end zone.

It was just like De'Anthony Thomas used to do in college.

Now he's doing it in the NFL.

The quick, multi-talented running back was taken by the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth round of May's draft, and already the former Oregon standout has been making 31 other teams look foolish for passing on him.

He's quickly moved up the depth chart in his first camp, and has been lining up at a variety of positions in a variety of sets in coach Andy Reid's offense.

And those zigzagging, ankle-breaking runs like that one earlier this week? Well, they're a big reason why thousands of fans have already become fans of him.

''I feel like I'm doing something right, you know?'' Thomas said after spending nearly half an hour signing autographs. ''Just competing, having fun. Coming to practice ready to work.''

The biggest knock on Thomas coming out of the draft was something he couldn't control: His size. He's listed at 5-foot-9, 174 pounds, which makes him shorter than every position player but wide receiver Weston Dressler and lighter than anybody else in training camp.

But unlike Pro Bowl punt returner Dexter McCluster, who filled a similar role with the Chiefs before departing in free agency, Thomas relishes contact.

Despite his smallish stature, it takes a bit more than a stiff breeze to knock him from his feet - assuming, of course, that some poor guy is able to track him down and put a solid hit on him.

''It's all about heart,'' he said. ''Just competing and having confidence.''

There certainly was no disputing the production Thomas had with the Ducks. He ran for nearly 2,000 yards and caught more than 1,200 yards worth of passes during his three-year career, even though he missed time his junior season with an ankle injury. He also led the nation in yards per carry as a sophomore, and proved to be an effective punt returner.

So when McCluster parlayed his big year on special teams into a big contract with Tennessee, the Chiefs jumped at the opportunity to plug in Thomas as a replacement.

''He truly enjoys playing the game,'' Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said. ''I'm sure it's a dream he's chased all his life. He wants to be good. He has a degree of pride. And I think the coaching staff we have, that does nothing but refine his skills to take it to another level.''

Thomas said he tries to model himself after LeBron James - ''He's a great team player,'' he said - but never gravitated toward basketball growing up, even on the playgrounds of south-central Los Angeles.

In fact, his first love was track and field because he liked the individual nature of the sport.

But he was playing around with friends when he was about 5 years old when a coach drove by and asked whether he had ever played football. Thomas never looked back.

He became a star in the Pop Warner leagues in Southern California. And by the time he arrived at Oregon, Thomas was already known for his speed and silky smooth moves.

Now, he's trying to get up to speed with the Chiefs.

Since Oregon is on the quarter system academically, Thomas missed virtually the entire offseason program, putting him a bit behind in learning the offense. But he's shown several times in training camp that he's getting a grasp of it - and leaving defenders grasping for air.

''We're not going to throw the whole book at him,'' Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said, ''but use his skill set, use his talent and let him go play football.''

Already, he's proven pretty good at that.

''You get nervous when you've got him in the game,'' linebacker Derrick Johnson said. ''I had the running back today man-to-man and you look up and it's number one in the backfield, that's not a running back to me, so it's one of those things that you've got to be on your toes. And in this offense he's doing great. He's going to help us this year.''

Notes: CB Marcus Cooper tweaked his hamstring early in Thursday's workout. Sean Smith took his place. ... Pro Bowl S Eric Berry (right heel) should be back soon, Reid said, but it remains unclear whether he will play in the Chiefs' first preseason game.

---

Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Dane FletcherMay 27 02:33a

Free-agent LB Dane Fletcher (Buccaneers) has returned to the New England Patriots on a one-year contract.

Devonta FreemanMay 26 09:53p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman worked with the first-team offense during organized team activities Tuesday, May 26.

Charles SimsMay 26 05:33p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims has a solid chance of beating out RB Doug Martin for Tampa Bay's starting running back gig, according to Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com.

A.J. JenkinsMay 26 01:02p

Free-agent WR A.J. Jenkins (Chiefs) signed an undisclosed deal with the Dallas Cowboys Tuesday, May 26, according to a source. Jenkins was the 30th overall pick by the San [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMay 26 08:43a

Updating an ongoing story, the Dallas Cowboys have moved on from the idea of trading for Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, despite persistent rumors, according to The Dallas Morning [ More ]

A.J. McCarronMay 25 10:37p

Cincinnati Bengals QB AJ McCarron (shoulder) is healthy and hoping to push QB Andy Dalton in 2015. 'We wanted him in our building so bad and it happened and [ More ]

Ray McDonaldMay 25 04:42p

Updating previous reports, Chicago Bears DE Ray McDonald has been released Monday, May 25, just hours after being arrested for alleged domestic violence and child endangerment.

Adrian PetersonMay 25 02:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson still wants to be traded, according to a source. Peterson intends to skip all organized team activities, which would cause him to lose $250,000 in workout bonuses.

Adrian PetersonMay 24 09:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has informed head coach Mike Zimmer that he will not attend the optional practices that begin Tuesday, May 26, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

Tom BradyMay 22 04:32p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will have the appeal of his four-game suspension heard by commissioner Roger Goodell after the NFL rejected a motion by the NFL Players [ More ]

Tom BradyMay 22 03:32p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal of his four-game suspension has not been scheduled at this time.

Ray RiceMay 22 11:42a

Free-agent RB Ray Rice (Ravens) could be a consideration for the Dallas Cowboys in free agency, speculates The Dallas Morning News' Jon Machota. He cites Cowboys owner and general [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMay 22 09:52a

Updating an ongoing story, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson remains in pursuit of being traded or receiving a new contract and remains away from the organization during voluntary workouts. [ More ]

William BeattyMay 21 12:02p

Updating previous reports, New York Giants OT William Beatty (chest) underwent successful surgery Thursday, May 21, to repair a torn pectoral muscle. Beatty will need approximately five to six months of recovery time.

Derek CarrMay 20 10:23p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) will not need surgery on his injured finger and may be able to throw again before the end of offseason workouts, according to his agent.

Joseph RandleMay 20 09:23p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle is the most likely option to lead the team's running back by committee approach in 2015. Randle has the most experience in the system, [ More ]

William BeattyMay 20 03:53p

Updating previous reports, New York Giants OT William Beatty's (pectoral) torn pectoral will require surgery and Beatty's recovery time is expected to be around five months. Beatty suffered the [ More ]

William BeattyMay 20 03:33p

Updating a previous report, New York Giants OT William Beatty (shoulder) tore his pectoral while lifting weights Wednesday, May 20, according to a source, and will undergo surgery. One [ More ]

Josh HillMay 20 03:23p

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is slated as the starting tight end this season with TE Jimmy Graham now in Seattle. TE Benjamin Watson could give Hill a run for his money, however.

William BeattyMay 20 03:13p

New York Giants OT William Beatty (shoulder) suffered a potentially serious shoulder injury while lifting weights Wednesday, May 20, according to a source. Surgery is a possibility.

Geno SmithMay 20 03:03p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith is the starting quarterback and will not see competition in training camp, according to offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.

Tom BradyMay 20 03:03p

Updating previous reports, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal will not be affected by the team's decision to accept their sanctions. Commissioner Roger Goodell said he wants to [ More ]

Matt JonesMay 20 02:15p

Washington Redskins RB Matt Jones said that he loves the offense and has a chip on his shoulder after not being used properly while in college. 'My college career [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 20 08:53a

Updating a previous report, Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) is experiencing numbness in his right ring finger. He hopes to avoid surgery through rest and rehab, and no [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 19 06:13p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) has a right ring finger injury that could be surgically repaired. A return for training camp is still achievable, however, according to a source.

L. WashingtonMay 19 05:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR L'Damian Washington (undisclosed) was waived/injured Tuesday, May 19.

Shayne GrahamMay 19 03:03p

New Orleans Saints PK Shayne Graham was released Tuesday, May 19. Subsequently, free-agent WR Lance Lewis (49ers) was signed.

Joseph BarksdaleMay 19 02:23p

Free-agent OT Joseph Barksdale (Rams) will sign a one-year deal worth $350,000 with the San Diego Chargers, according to a source. The deal also comes with more than $1 million in incentives available.

Tom BradyMay 19 01:43p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will continue to appeal his four-game suspension, despite owner Robert Kraft saying the team will not appeal the discipline levied against them.

Jed CollinsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Tyler CluttsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Lache SeastrunkMay 18 02:42p

Tennessee Titans RB Lache Seastrunk was released Monday, May 18.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group