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

Adrian PetersonApr 23 05:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson may not be in the Dallas Cowboys' plans after all, according Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports. Robinson said the Cowboys have not spoken to the Vikings regarding Peterson.

Demaryius ThomasApr 23 03:32p

Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas has decided not to participate in offseason workouts because he does not want to suffer an injury, but general manager John Elway does not [ More ]

Will HillApr 23 03:12p

Baltimore Ravens restricted free-agent FS Will Hill signed his tender offer Thursday, April 23, according to sources. Hill received a one-year deal worth $1.54 million.

Andre EllingtonApr 23 03:02p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington's (foot) injured foot is about 95 percent healed, and Ellington has not suffered any setbacks, according to head coach Bruce Arians.

M. Jones-DrewApr 23 02:22p

Free-agent RB Maurice Jones-Drew (Raiders) will sign a one-day deal to retire as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars next Tuesday, April 28. He played nine seasons and rushed [ More ]

Victor CruzApr 23 02:12p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) said he believes that he will be ready to play in the season opener next season and play like he did before he suffered the injury.

Justin TuckerApr 23 01:52p

Baltimore Ravens restricted free-agent PK Justin Tucker has signed his one-year tender offer. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Bear PascoeApr 23 12:52p

Free-agent TE Bear Pascoe (Falcons) signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears Thursday, April 23. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Sam BradfordApr 23 01:53a

The Philadelphia Eagles and QB Sam Bradford have yet to make significant progress on a contract extension sparking speculation the quarterback might be traded again, although head coach Chip [ More ]

Brandin CooksApr 22 11:43p

New Orleans Saints WR Brandin Cooks (knee) spent time training together with QB Drew Brees during the offseason in San Diego. 'Man, I love everything about him, his makeup, [ More ]

Greg JenningsApr 22 06:13p

Free-agent WR Greg Jennings (Vikings) signed an undisclosed deal with the Miami Dolphins Wednesday, April 22.

Philip RiversApr 22 05:33p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers may be losing faith in the organization, according to NFL Network analyst and former Chargers' RB LaDainian Tomlinson. 'The parts around him keep [ More ]

Jacques McClendonApr 22 04:13p

Free-agent OG Jacques McClendon (Jaguars) signed an undisclosed deal with the Miami Dolphins Wednesday, April 22.

Adrian PetersonApr 22 02:23p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is not expected to be traded by the Vikings unless the team is overwhelmed by an offer from another team, according to a source. [ More ]

Antonio BrownApr 22 02:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown said he is not participating in voluntary workouts because he is spending time with his newborn child. Brown said he will report to offseason [ More ]

Marvin LewisApr 22 11:33a

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis signed a one-year extension Wednesday, April 22. He's under contract through the 2016 season.

S. RichardsonApr 21 05:23p

Kansas City Chiefs CB Shaquille Richardson (undisclosed) was released Tuesday, April 21, with a failure to disclose physical condition designation.

Adrian PetersonApr 21 01:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson remains a candidate to be traded, and a source close to the situation believes that if he isn't traded before or during the 2015 [ More ]

Dennis PittaApr 20 06:52p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) is participating in the team's voluntary conditioning program that started Monday, April 20. Pitta's career remains in doubt after fracturing his right hip [ More ]

Prince AmukamaraApr 20 05:22p

New York Giants CB Prince Amukamara (biceps) said he's about 90% recovered from a torn biceps he suffered last season.

Adrian WilsonApr 20 05:02p

Updating a previous item, free-agent SS Adrian Wilson (Bears) signed a contract to officially retire with the Arizona Cardinals.

Tim TebowApr 20 03:52p

Free-agent QB Tim Tebow (Patriots) officially signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, April 20. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Adrian PetersonApr 20 01:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is not in attendance for the start of the team's offseason workout program Monday, April 20, according to league sources. However, Peterson hasn't attended [ More ]

Antonio BrownApr 20 11:02a

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown is seeking a new contract and could hold out from minicamps and training camp, according to sources.

Adrian WilsonApr 20 07:22a

Free-agent SS Adrian Wilson (Bears) is expected to retire Monday, April 20, and join the Arizona Cardinals coaching staff. The Cardinals, the team Wilson played for from 2001-2012, have announced a press conference.

Tim TebowApr 19 07:42p

Free-agent QB Tim Tebow (Patriots) is expected to sign a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, April 20.

Stefen WisniewskiApr 18 01:02p

Free-agent C Stefen Wisniewski (Raiders) signed a one-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars Saturday, April 18. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Ryan JensenApr 17 05:02p

Baltimore Ravens exclusive rights free-agent TE Phillip Supernaw, SS Brynden Trawick, CB Rashaan Melvin and OT Ryan Jensen re-signed with the team Friday, April 17. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

Adrian PetersonApr 17 12:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson said earlier this week that he's not sure if he'll participate in the team's offseason program. Minnesota is set to start their offseason workouts [ More ]

Adrian PetersonApr 16 03:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson will not receive any further suspension after he is reinstated from the commissioner's exempt list, according to a source.

Adrian PetersonApr 16 02:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has been informed that he will be reinstated from the commissioner exempt list starting Friday, April 17.

Sammy WatkinsApr 15 11:33p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (hip) is able to work out in some capacity during the team's offseason program, although head coach Rex Ryan indicated Wednesday, April 15, that [ More ]

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