De’Anthony Thomas has always been the return man. In high school, in college and in the NFL.
Last year, the fourth-year pro out of Oregon had to adjust to being the second option after the Kansas City Chiefs drafted cheetah-quick Tyreek Hill in the fifth round.
He said it’s made him a better teammate.
“I’m trying to contribute,” Thomas said. “Whether it’s offense, special teams, wherever they need me to go.”
This year in camp, Thomas is back as the top return guy. Special teams coach Dave Toub opened the competition up as the team hopes Hill becomes more of an offensive priority this season.
Toub earlier in camp said Thomas plays like a 200-pound guy, even though he’s listed at 176 pounds.
“I mean, last year, De’Anthony ended up becoming one of my best special teams players,” Toub said. “He ended up making a whole bunch of tackles. He is a solid catcher. He is tough. Pound for pound he is the toughest player we got.”
Thomas said he got that toughness mentality growing up in South Central Los Angeles. He said he’s carried that mindset onto the field with him everyday, and he believes the coaches have taken notice.
Last year was the first time in Thomas’ life that he was not the key return guy on his team.
“(I was) just being that person to, not take a back seat, but just learning and experiencing it,” he said. “It’s been great. I feel like I’ve been handling it well, and now I have a different role, and I’m just trying to stay better, stay healthy. Just play my part.”
On Saturday, special teams became…
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