Marcus Thigpen keeps explosive plays coming for Riders

Veteran running back Marcus Thigpen had an 82-yard touchdown run in Saskatchewan’s 30-29 road win over Toronto on Saturday night, his third TD this season covering 80 or more yards.

The 32-year-old Thigpen also had a 97-yard kickoff return touchdown in a 30-25 loss to Ottawa on Sept. 15 and an 80-yard TD run July 20 in a 31-20 victory over Hamilton.

“That’s what I’ve been known for over the years, my speed,” Thigpen said. “The offensive line is blocking well for us, the holes are big and once I get to the second level I feel like there’s nobody that can catch me.”

The five-foot-nine, 195-pound dynamo has spent time with eight NFL clubs (twice with both Buffalo and Miami) and three CFL teams (Hamilton, second tenure with Saskatchewan) since ’09. He’s excelled as a receiver, running back and kick returner.

“I think it’s a testament to the way I work,” said Thigpen, a Detroit native. “I work out every single day, I don’t take any days off.

“I make sure I keep my body in shape, I eat right. I just do things the right way.”

Thigpen has scored 23 career TDs – NFL and CFL – five different ways. Six have come as a receiver, eight on the ground, three via kickoffs, three on punts and another three on missed field goals.

Thigpen has rushed for 383 yards on 43 carries this season (8.9-yard average). He’s defying the conventional wisdom that pro running backs start losing effectiveness after turning 30.

“It’s really about your mind, your will, what you want to get accomplished,” Thigpen said. “If you take care of your body and have never had any serious injuries, I feel like you can play this game for a while.”

Chris Jones, the Riders head coach/GM, wasn’t surprised with Thigpen’s big-play ability.

“He’s a very explosive player,’ Jones said. ”He can play a lot of different positions and he can break tackles.

“Certainly when he gets into the open field there’s very few people who can run him down.”




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