Friday, October 27, 2017

Anthony Thomas Jersey Card

Yes, I am one of those: I'm boycotting the NFL this year.

Not because players are kneeling, mind you, but for the opposite reason: because NFL owners colluded to blacklist the player who started the movement, Colin Kaepernick, while signing much lesser quarterbacks to expensive long-term contracts, leaving him unemployed.

Case in point:

Brian Hoyer, San Francisco 49ers (2 years, $12M). Currently sitting on the bench.

Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles (2 years, $11M). Backup with injury issues.

Josh McCown, New York Jets (one-year, $6M). Too good for a bad team, and tends to make costly mistakes.

Landry Jones, Pittsburgh Steelers (2 years, $4.4M). One of the better backups in the league.

Matt Barkley, 49ers (2 years, $4M). Didn't even make the team after training camp.

Mark Sanchez, Chicago Bears (one year, $2M). Third-string QB.

Geno Smith, New York Giants (one year, $1.2M). I can't believe this guy can still find work, he still believes he can start games.

Josh Johnson, Giants (two years, $1.02M). Failed to make the team.

E.J. Manuel, Oakland Raiders (one year, $800K). Interim starter after Derek Carr's injury.

Kellen Moore, Dallas Cowboys (one year, $775K). Now on practice squad.

Aaron Murray, Los Angeles Rams (one year, $615K). Released in the summer.

Chase Daniels, New Orleans Saints (one year, $900K paid by Saints, $4.1M paid by Eagles). Backup.

Case Keenum, Minnesota Vikings (one year, $2M, plus incentives). Getting the job done.

David Fales, Miami Dolphins. Apparently, a 27-year-old guy with two career complete passes is better than Kaepernick when your two starters (Ryan Tannehill and Jay Cutler) go down.

T.J. Yates, Buffalo Bills (one year). With too many QBs at the Bills' training camp, he became one of four when he was placed on injured reserve following a concussion. He reached a settlement with the team and has been released.

Matt McGloin, Eagles (one year). Failed to make the team.

Blaine Gabbert, Arizona Cardinals. Doing well.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (one year, $3M). Consistently inconsistent.

Austin Davis, Seattle Seahawks (one year, league minimum). A terrible quarterback.

And, of course, Mike Glendon, of Da Bears (3 years, $45M). Jesus.

That's not the worst decision the Bears ever took, though, but that's a story for another day. Today, I'll focus on a player who was fine with the team, terrible elsewhere, and could/should have been exceptional, Anthony Thomas.

Thomas was given the nickname "A-Train" when playing for the University of Michigan Wolverines, by sportscaster Brent Musburger, making his name as one of 1997's Big Ten Top Freshmen on an undefeated Wolverines team.

He followed that by leading the team in rushing for three consecutive years with 893 yards in 1998, 1297 yards in 1999, and 1733 yards in 2000, the latter of which remains the second-highest single-season total in Michigan history. That year, he had nine games in which he rushed for over 100 yards. His 4772 career rushing years set a school record (which has since been surpassed by Mike Hart).

He was therefore perhaps a steal when the Bears selected him in the second round (38th overall) in 2001, an impression he added to when he won the Offensive Rookie Of The Year award helping Chicago to an NFC Central championship.

He had two more decent seasons (721 rushing yards in 2002 and 1,024 rushing yards in 2003) before being surpassed by Thomas Jones, then made his way to the Cowboys, Saints and Bills, never truly finding a home or a role worthy of his past. Not everyone was a fan, though, even of his days in Chicago.

It's therefore fitting that I feature him wearing the Bears' classic black (home) uniform, with the jersey insert version of card #110 from Topps' 2001 Bowman's Best set:
It's a nice foil card that includes a matching jersey swatch from the NFL Rookie Premier event. It,s numbered 789/999.

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