KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs are set to welcome back wide receiver/punt returner De’Anthony Thomas.
Thomas, who hasn’t played since suffering a concussion in Week 11, put in a full practice Thursday for a second straight day and appears on track to resume his role on offense and special teams Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
And Thomas believes he is ready to do whatever is necessary to help the team.
“I feel like I prepared myself to get back on the field,” Thomas said. “I’m just ready to finish strong, keep finishing strong and getting ready to contribute to the team and keep everything going.”
Special teams coordinator Dave Toub admitted to being worried about Thomas dealing with rust because of the missed time.
But Thomas’ showing in practice quickly alleviated any concerns.
“You always worry about a guy who hasn’t caught a punt in four weeks – how is he going to react – and that was something we were looking for,” Toub said. “We shot him a lot of footballs and kicked him a lot of balls; he caught them all in our practice. During the practice with guys coming down the field, he did a good job there, too. He looks pretty good.”
In the past four weeks, Thomas was often observed on the sidelines watching his teammates during the portions of practice open to the media.
Thomas said he used the time to take visual repetitions and stayed on top of the playbook before he eventually returned to the practice field.
“I feel like I haven’t lost a beat,” he said.
While the missed time may have been frustrating, the second-year pro had one big takeaway during the recovery process.
“Patience, having patience,” Thomas said. “It took me a while, but I feel like I prepared myself well to get back on the field and I’m excited.”
Wide receiver Frankie Hammond Jr., filled in as the punt returner and has nine punt returns for 76 yards, averaging 8.4 yards per return, on the season.
Thomas totaled 29 punt returns for 227 yards (7.8 yards per return) before the concussion, and the Chiefs are ready to have Thomas resume his role as the primary punt returner .
“As long as he keeps progressing like he’s doing, I feel good about it,” Toub said.
Herbie Teope is the lead Chiefs beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and The Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @HerbieTeope.