Chiefs

With De’Anthony Thomas’ return, Chiefs just picked up an already fast pace

De’Anthony Thomas, the Chiefs’ ”new” receiver, likes “the KC vibe”

After his first full practice Wednesday, De'Anthony Thomas, the Kansas City Chiefs' newly re-signed wide receiver, talked about how happy is to be back with the team.
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After his first full practice Wednesday, De'Anthony Thomas, the Kansas City Chiefs' newly re-signed wide receiver, talked about how happy is to be back with the team.

On a team with a glut of speed, the Chiefs have gotten even faster by signing De’Anthony Thomas, who was on course to switch to track and field.

Had he not gotten the call from the Chiefs, who were looking for a wide receiver and special teams standout to replace the injured Marcus Kemp, Thomas might’ve instead broken the tape at a finish line or two.

Thomas was working out with the idea of running in meets during the indoor season: the 60-meter-dash, to be specific.

But then his old team called, and Thomas, not with the Chiefs during their offseason workouts, was suddenly catching passes from Patrick Mahomes Tuesday.

“I have to get my body back right and make sure I’m available to make plays and contribute to this team,” Thomas said.

And thus, the so-called Legion of Zoom has grown by one. Thomas has played with fleet wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins and cornerback-turned-running back Tremon Smith. Add to the group rookie speedsters Mecole Hardman at wide receiver and running back Darwin Thompson, and now Thomas’ sprinter’s speed ... suffice to say this unit will be trouble for opponents.

“It’s unbelievable,” Thomas said. “Now I’m back to bring a little more spark, a little more flavor to it.”

Thomas was a fourth-round pick by the Chiefs in 2014 out of Oregon and has spent his career with the club. He’s appeared in 55 games, has tallied 503 receiving yards and has scored a total of six touchdowns.

Kansas City Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub spoke Wednesday about the addition of De'Anthony Thomas and others contributing to special teams.

His special-teams contributions have always stood out. Thomas owns career averages of 24.8 yards per kickoff return and 9.7 yards on punt returns. He was named the 2014 NFL all-rookie team as a return specialist. Thomas also has been a gunner in punt coverage.

This is why special teams coach Dave Toub is stoked.

“When Kemp went down there was a hole there, and he kind of fills that hole for us,” Toub said. “Different type of guy — he’s more a speed guy and he brings a lot to the table for us. He looks good out there.

“I’ve said this before, he was pound for pound probably the toughest guy we had. He’s not just a return guy. He’s a cover guy, he’s a gunner, he’s good on kickoffs. He can block.”

Last season, Thomas was limited to five games after breaking his leg. He spent the rest of the year on injured reserve, and the Chiefs didn’t re-sign him after last season.

But Thomas remained in Kansas City.

“I love Kansas City,” Thomas said. “I feel like I’ll never leave this place.”

He also put behind him an off-field brush with the law. Thomas was arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia in Allen County, Kan.

“I saw it as a distraction,” Thomas said. “I didn’t let it interfere with my process. I just kept focus and stayed disciplined in my workouts and now I’m getting back to doing what I do.”

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