After electing to opt-out of the 2020 NFL season, former Oregon running back De’Anthony Thomas was released by the Baltimore Ravens this week. The team announced that they were moving on from the wide receiver and kick return specialist on Monday in their season-ending transactions list following the playoff loss this past weekend.
Thomas was one of the first NFL players to opt-out of the 2020 NFL season, making the decision in late July, just days after the NFL and NFL Players Association Board of Representatives announced an agreement that would pay players that wished to opt-out a stipend of their future salary.
The Ravens re-signed the kick return specialist to a one-year contract for the 2020 season after Thomas finished the 2019 season on Baltimore’s roster playing in the final eight games with 13 punt returns for 93 yards and returned ten kicks for 166 yards.
Thomas was cut by Kansas City in October of 2019 in order to make room for another quarterback on their 53-man roster. The Ravens moved quickly bringing in Thomas for a workout the next week and signed Thomas in early November.
In his six seasons in the NFL, Thomas has spent all six in Kansas City after being picked by the team in the fourth round (124th overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft. After his 2018 contract expired, it was unclear if the Chiefs would re-sign Thomas, especially with an offseason arrest that left him ineligible for week 1 of the 2019 season. The Chiefs eventually did sign Thomas to a contract in 2019 but used the return specialist sparingly outside of special teams. Thomas only had one reception and one rushing attempt while receiving 13 punts and seven kickoffs for the Chiefs through six games this season.
During the 2018 season, Thomas broke his leg in practice and was placed on the injured reserve list for the remainder of the season, including the Chiefs playoff run which ended in the AFC Championship game. Thomas had signed a one-year extension to his rookie contract before the 2018 season.
The former Oregon running back spent three seasons with the Ducks from 2011 to 2013. In one of the biggest surprises in modern recruiting, Thomas picked the Ducks over USC mainly because Oregon would give him the ability to play offense, instead of defensive back, where he was ranked as one of the nation’s top prospects. As a freshman, Thomas had many break-out moments including the 2012 Rose Bowl game against Wisconsin which saw Thomas rack up 314 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns, including a 91-yard touchdown run.
Thomas would elect to leave Oregon for the NFL draft after his true junior season finishing ranked 8th in Oregon’s all-time career rushing touchdown leaders.
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