Cleveland Browns rookie running back
Thomas helped pace the team’s comeback against the Lions with a three-yard touchdown in the last half of the fourth quarter. Earlier this year, the team brought him into rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. Thomas then earned his contract offer because of the way he played that weekend.
“I’ve matured a lot,” Thomas said of his time with the Browns since that rookie minicamp. “I have a different aspect of the game. I’ve talked to a lot of veterans, whether it be special teams, offense or defense. I like to ask the defensive players what they look at and ask the offensive players what they see. I talk to the special teams players because that’s a big role in the game.”
Thomas was a four-year letterman for the University of Toledo and rushed for 2,551 yards and 21 touchdowns during his time with the Rockets (2008-11). He averaged 6.3 yards-per-carry over his final two years of college football and led the Mid-American Conference in that category for two straight seasons.
Playing behind a mix of veterans and rookies as a running back and kick returner, Thomas had to wait until the second half to get his first touch of the football against the Lions.
Once he finally fielded a kickoff and returned it for a 27-yard gain, Thomas felt a calm come over him.
“I was just more anxious than anything,” Thomas said. “I’d be lying if I said I was nervous. I was more anxious because it’s a childhood dream to get out there and play football. I was just really anxious for my number to be called to go out there and make some plays.
“It was a relief just to get the ball in my hands for the first time. It was a relief to finally touch the ball.”
Relief gave way to calm and calm later led to confidence.
With the Browns down by seven points late in the fourth quarter, Thomas took a handoff from quarterback
Thomas was later stopped on the ensuing two-point conversion try, but was able to help setup
He finished the game with eight yards and the one touchdown on eight carries, caught a 25-yard pass and averaged 23.5 yards over two kickoff returns.
“It feels real good to be in control, to have the defense surrendering, confused, running off, not being able to make any checks or calls,” Thomas said. “It’s a good feeling. It shows we’re maturing as a young offense.”