Train tracks

LAKE FOREST -- Anthony Thomas and David Terrell were hanging out Monday night, but the Bears rookies have conflicting stories of what went on.

Terrell swears he was surfing the Internet with the A-Train, looking to see who the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year might be.

Thomas' side of the story was somewhat different. He said he walked out the door once Terrell turned on the computer.

Both, however, were on the same page Tuesday at Halas Hall when Thomas earned the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

"He's deserving of it, without a doubt," said Terrell, the Bears' first-round pick. "But I'm sure he'd rather have a Super Bowl ring than rookie of the year."

Thomas, a steal for the Bears in the second round of the April draft, rushed for a Chicago rookie record with 1,183 yards on 278 carries (4.25 average) in just 12 games. He also established a Bears rookie record with 188 yards rushing against Cincinnati. It was the top rushing performance by a rookie during the 2001 season.

"I never had any doubt," Thomas said of his success in the NFL. "I always believed in myself. I knew I could do it, and I could play with the best of them.

"I've always been a confident guy. But I'm a real quiet guy and I don't say a lot. I just want to go out and play ball. I don't have to say a lot to do what I've got to do.''

Thomas beat out San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson, the No. 5 overall pick, and first running back drafted. Thomas, the 38th overall selection, finished with 20 votes to Tomlinson's 16.

Thomas won the award despite playing behind James Allen to start the season, battling a hamstring injury that cost him two games and carrying the ball just three times for 9 yards in the first two weeks of the season. Thomas finished with four 100-yard games and scored seven touchdowns.

"It feels pretty good, it's an honor," Thomas said. "There are a lot of guys in our rookie class I thought would have an opportunity to get this award.

"It was a shock to me that I received it.''

Thomas, as usual, passed on some props to his offensive line. James "Big Cat" Williams, Blake Brockermeyer, Chris Villarrial, Rex Tucker and Olin Kreutz started all 16 games together.

"I guess that says a lot for the guys up in front of me," Thomas said. "I mean, they worked real hard to get me where I'm at. I always give those guys a lot of credit because they deserve it."

Thomas is the fourth Bears player to win Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and first since 1965, when running back Gale Sayers took home the award. Last season, 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, who fell to the second round of the draft and was the fourth running back taken, said he thinks he's proved his worth to the rest of the league.

"I just want to say they lost," Thomas said. "I mean, whatever they didn't see, they lost."

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