Kansas City Chiefs running back De'Anthony Thomas, the former L.A. Crenshaw High and University of Oregon star, had an impressive NFL debut Thursday night.
The 5-foot-9, 174-pound Thomas, a fourth-round pick this spring, showed why he'll get a big chance to be part of the offense and special teams for Kansas City with an electrifying 80-yard punt return against the Cincinnati Bengals in a preseason opener at Arrowhead Stadium.
Thomas, who returned four kickoffs and one punt for scores at Oregon, spun away from a would-be tackler along the left sideline, reversed course to the middle of the field, then burst toward the right sideline and sprinted past the Bengals coverage for an easy touchdown, as you can see in the video above.
“There were just guys out there making great blocks,” Thomas said of the touchdown return. “I was just being patient and waiting for that ball to come down, looking it all the way in and getting in that end zone.”
Thomas, who rushed once for three yards in the 41-39 victory, is rather small for an NFL running back, and Kansas City has the dynamic Jamal Charles to carry the rushing load.
"This is only the first game," Thomas said. "There are a lot more games to prove to people what kind of player I am."
Look for the Chiefs to utilize Thomas the way other diminutive backs such as Reggie Bush and Darren Sproles are featured, in alignments that help create mismatches and get him in open spaces to take advantage of his quickness and speed.
Thomas has one fan in quarterback Alex Smith.
"He does that every day," Smith said of Thomas heading to the end zone. "He kind of knows only one speed. We kind of joke about that. Even during a walk-through he's going 100 miles an hour."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times