The Kansas City Chiefs welcomed two familiar faces back to the club on Tuesday—offensive lineman Jeff Allen and wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas. The Chiefs originally drafted Allen in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft, and they took Thomas in the fourth round two years later.
”There’s that senior leadership that has been through it before,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said of Allen and Thomas. “They know the offense. Jeff was here in my first year. DAT then came just a little bit after that. It’s good to have them back out here. They’re out here competing and working to make the football team. That’s what they’re doing.”
Thomas back in the offense
In a scene parallel to something out of Major League Baseball’s trade deadline, Thomas came onto the field during the middle of the Chiefs’ Tuesday practice, and Davon Grayson, who was waived to make room, was escorted off.
Wearing a No. 5 red jersey, Thomas jumped right back into the mix, taking snaps with Patrick Mahomes and the first team.
“They let me know before he got out there that he was going to be out there [Tuesday],” Mahomes said. “That’s a fun guy, he goes out there and works hard and he’s going to go out there and he’ll be someone we utilize hopefully this season.”
Thomas caught three passes for 29 yards and one touchdown in five games for Kansas City in 2018 before refracturing his surgically repaired right tibia in practice last October. Thomas first fractured the leg in late 2017 during a game against the Denver Broncos.
The Chiefs let his contract run out, but with wide receiver and key special teamer Marcus Kemp headed to injured reserve, the club brought him back on Thursday.
”He’s been working out, doing track workouts,” Reid added. “He’s in pretty good shape right now. Leg looks good. That was a concern, but he’s done well with it.”
Mahomes believes that Thomas should be in good position to catch up on what he has missed from training camp in St. Joseph.
“There’s definitely going to be stuff that’s different from last year that he has to learn but the good thing about him being here all last year, he was able to see a lot of the base stuff,” he said. “When we went back to those basic plays and ran those plays, he was able to get in there and get some work in.”
Thomas’ return probably has much to do with Kemp being sidelined for the year. Kemp played a critical role for Dave Toub on special teams, a void Thomas can fill.
”It was just with the way the numbers worked and everything,” Reid said. “We’ve stayed in touch with [Thomas], made sure he was good and healthy enough to bring him back. That leg was obviously a concern, but they did the check-up on him and he’s doing great with it.”
Toub has gone on record expressing his love for Thomas. Thomas’ presence directly hurts the chances of Tremon Smith (backup returner) and Cody Thompson (wide receiver numbers) making the club.
In 55 games during a five-year period in Kansas City, Thomas has compiled 64 catches for 503 yards and four touchdowns, as well as 29 rushes for 189 yards and two touchdowns. It remains to be seen whether the league will suspend him for a drug possession arrest earlier this offseason.
Jeff Allen back in the rotation
Allen rejoined the Chiefs last October when they faced injuries to their offensive line but, like in the case of Thomas, his contract ran out. The Chiefs finally decided to bring him back on Monday.
“It’s just a good time in my life,” Allen said. “Between me and my family, we felt like this is the opportunity where I get a chance to win a Super Bowl with a great organization, with great people. People that we love and like. Good teammates. Good coaches, the front office, everything.”
Mahomes liked how easy it seemed for Allen to transition back into the mix.
“It was awesome,” he said. “He’s a great guy, a veteran guy. He understands the offense. Someone you can trust in there. It’s good to have him back and you know he’s going to get after it. He’s a lot of fun in the locker room as well.”
Allen has started 66 games during the course of his seven-year NFL career, including 40 in Kansas City and three last year as the Chiefs faced injuries down the stretch. He is capable of playing all of the positions along the line. His addition to the club will probably push a young player like Ryan Hunter or Nick Allegretti to the practice squad.
Allen told reporters that over the last few weeks, he has been working out with his trainer back in Dallas and making cookies with his wife, Marrisa, for her business, The Cookie Society.
But not to worry—Allen has stayed in shape, avoiding the sweets himself.
“To be honest, when you’re making that many, you don’t want any.”
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