June 27, 2013

Rookie of the Year: Anthony Thomas, 2001

Running Back, Chicago Bears

Age: 24 (Nov. 7)
College: Michigan
Height: 6’1”   Weight: 226

A workhorse running back in his last two college seasons, Thomas was taken by the Bears in the second round of the 2001 NFL draft. He was projected to be an immediate contributor, valued for his blocking as well as reliability, and while he missed time in the preseason and didn’t immediately move into the lineup, he replaced James Allen as the primary runner.

2001 Season Summary
Appeared in 14 of 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 278 [12]
Most attempts, game - 33 (for 160 yds.) vs. Jacksonville 1/6
Yards – 1183 [11]
Most yards, game – 188 yards (on 22 carries) at Cincinnati 10/21
Average gain – 4.3
TDs – 7 [12, tied with Ron Dayne & Tony Richardson]
100-yard rushing games – 4

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 22      
Most receptions, game – 6 (for 71 yds.) vs. Cleveland 11/4
Yards – 178
Most yards, game - 71 (on 6 catches) vs. Cleveland 11/4
Average gain – 8.1
TDs – 0

TDs – 7
2-point PAT – 1
Points – 44

Postseason: 1 G (NFC Divisional playoff vs. Philadelphia)
Rushing attempts – 15
Rushing yards – 36
Average gain rushing – 2.4
Rushing TDs – 0

Pass receptions – 1
Pass receiving yards - 11
Average yards per reception – 11.0
Pass Receiving TDs - 0

Awards & Honors:
NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year: AP, PFWA

Bears went 13-3 to finish first in the NFC Central. Lost NFC Divisional playoff to Philadelphia Eagles (33-19).

“The A-Train” slumped in 2002, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry before a broken finger sidelined him for the last four games. He recovered somewhat to rush for 1024 yards in ‘03, but was still bothered by nagging injuries and lost his starting job to Thomas Jones in 2004. After running for 3332 yards in four years in Chicago, Thomas moved on to the Dallas Cowboys in 2005, saw little action and was released - he finished up the season in New Orleans when RB Deuce McAllister was lost with an injury. He spent 2006 and ’07, his final two seasons, with Buffalo. Overall, he rushed for 3891 yards on 1044 carries (3.7 avg.) with 23 touchdowns and caught 113 passes for 756 yards and a TD. At his best, Thomas was effective as a runner between the tackles, but injuries and inconsistent play ultimately limited his career.


Rookie of the Year Profiles feature players who were named Rookie of the Year in the NFL, AFL (1960-69), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press – Offense or Defense, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, or the league itself – Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year). 

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