Thomas Named AP Offensive Rookie of the Year

LAKE FOREST, IL -Chicago rookie running back Anthony Thomas was named the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year today.

Thomas is the fourth Bears player to win Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and first since 1965 (running back Gale Sayers).

Last season, Thomas' teammate Brian Urlacher earned the AP's Defensive Rookie of the Year honor marking the first time since 1961 and 1962 that the Bears earned back-to-back Rookie of the Year winners (tight end Mike Ditka in 1961 and halfback Ronnie Bull in 1962).

Thomas, selected in the second round of the 2000 NFL Draft with the 38th selection overall, established a Bears rookie rushing record surpassing Rashaan Salaam's 1995 record of 1,074 yards.

Thomas finished the regular season with 1,183 yards on 278 carries (4.25 yards per carry). Thomas had four 100-yard rushing games during the 2001 season, the most since Raymont Harris had five in 1997. He also set a Bears rookie record with 188 yards rushing at Cincinnati (10/21). The 188 yards marks the eighth-highest single-game rushing total in Bears history and was the top performance by a rookie during the 2001 season.

Thomas' selection, in addition to Urlacher in 2000, makes the Bears the first team since the 1986-87 Dolphins (linebacker John Offerdahl in 1986 and running back Troy Stradford in 1987) to have back-to-back Rookie of the Year honorees.

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