One of the B.C. Lions’ most recognizable offseason signings has failed to show up for rookie camp and is no longer with the team.
According to a report from TSN insider Farhan Lalji, former Kansas City Chiefs receiver De’Anthony Thomas is not expected to report to Kamloops after signing with the Lions in February. The motivation behind Thomas’ change of heart is not known, but is unrelated to the current collective bargaining dispute between the CFL and its players.
The 29-year-old speedster was projected to compete for a role as the Lions’ primary returner in 2022, with the potential to bring another game-breaking element to the receiving corps alongside fellow NFL veteran Lucky Whitehead.
Originally selected in the fourth round, 124th overall, by Kansas City in the 2014 NFL Draft. Thomas suited up in 61 games over six seasons with the team. The Los Angeles native racked up a single-season career-high 1,156 all-purpose yards, including 113 yards and a touchdown on the ground, in his rookie year. He finished his tenure in Kansas City with 65 receptions for 509 yards and four touchdowns, 31 carries for 191 yards and two touchdowns, and 2,173 return yards with one touchdown.
Following his release from Kansas City in October 2019, Thomas landed with the Baltimore Ravens and played in the team’s final eight regular-season games. He recorded three kickoff returns for 71 yards in a postseason game against the Tennessee Titans.
After opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID, Thomas was released by the Ravens in January 2021.
A star in both football and track at Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, Thomas was one of the country’s most highly-recruited high school players before his commitment to the University of Oregon. In 28 games over three seasons for the Ducks, he recorded 4,122 all-purpose yards — including 1,372 yards on 52 kickoff returns — and scored 34 of his 38 touchdowns on offence.
Thomas scored two majors and had 312 all-purpose yards in Oregon’s Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin in January 2012. One year later, he returned the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown as the Ducks took down Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl.
The dynamic athlete also starred in track at Oregon, finishing second in the 4 x 100 and fifth in the individual 200 metres at the 2012 Pac-12 Championships.
Unfortunately, CFL fans will never get to see what that world-class speed would be able to accomplish on a wider field.