Train's Tracks Headed Out of Town

Lake Forest - Anthony Thomas started his career in Chicago with a bang, as he won the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2001. However, he has never lived up to the promise he showed in that campaign and appears to be ready for a change of scenery.

Thomas went over 1,000-yards in two of his first three years in the league and would have likely had a third if not for a broken finger, which forced him to miss the final four games of the 2002 season.

When Lovie Smith took over as the head coach of the Chicago Bears it was the beginning of the end for Thomas with the organization.

Thomas Jones was signed to a four-year $10 million deal to be the starter without competing for the job. This despite the fact that Thomas' worst season in the league was more productive than Jones' best.

Jones was viewed as the better fit for Terry Shea's offense because of his speed and ability to catch the ball.

The Bears pursued a trade of Thomas, but never found the right deal and decided to keep him as a backup to Jones, who had never carried the ball more than 138 times in a year before this season.

The bulk of Thomas' 116 carries came in a three-game span that Jones had just one touch because of a toe injury. The Bears won all three of those games, as Thomas rushed for 280 yards on 82 carries.

Thomas didn't get a single carry in Week 14 after sharing 30 attempts with Jones a week earlier.

"We want to go out and finish on a good note and that's the only thing I can think about right now," Thomas said.

Despite his lack of opportunity, Thomas has moved up the franchise's all-time rushing list. He's now fifth with 3,311 yards rushing.

Thomas already has plans to list his house with a real estate agent next week. A free agent after this season, Thomas has carried the ball five times or less in nine of 13 games this season.

"I know if I'm not starting here next year I'll be starting somewhere," Thomas said. " I'll have an opportunity to go out and play and that's my only option. That's the only thing I want right now."

Thomas requested to be traded earlier this season and while he's trying to say the right things as he leaves town, it's obvious he's ready for a fresh start.

"I'm just trying to keep my mouth closed as much as I can and try to go out and play ball," Thomas said.

Thomas is also complimentary of the future of the team in Chicago.

"If they keep this same team here they'll be a great team in the future," Thomas said. "You never know what's going to happen in the off-season. How they're going to break up people, who they're going to bring in and what's going to happen. So if they bring this team here, they keep them here as a whole, I think they'll be great in a year or two."

The key from that statement is Thomas used ‘they' instead of ‘we', which means he knows he's not a part of the plan and doesn't want to be.


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