The son of Derrick Thomas, arguably the greatest Kansas City Chiefs player in history, got a tryout with his late father’s team.
Running back Donnell Alexander jersey was one of several tryout players who participated in the Chiefs’ three-day rookie minicamp, which ended Monday. Alexander’s connection with the Chiefs runs deep.
“I have memories (of Thomas), but I was quite young (when he played), so a lot of the memories mostly come from film,” he said, via the team’s official website. “When I was in Colorado, I did a camp, and a lot of people came up and spoke to me, and just the way they said that they idolize my father, to me that was amazing because they have no idea really who he is, but for them to just be die-hard fans like that, that shows me a lot.”
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Thomas was one of the most devastating pass rushers in NFL history. The Hall of Famer set the record for sacks in a game, taking down Seattle’s Dave Krieg seven times in 1990. If, like Alexander, you’re too young to recall Thomas, spend your day watching his highlights on YouTube, you will not be disappointed. Thomas’ “A Football Life” is also one of the best I’ve seen.
Thomas died after a speeding accident in 2000. Alexander would love to play for the same team his famous father played for during his 11 NFL seasons.
“It’s a surreal experience,” Alexander said. “No matter what, I think I would have come here regardless and at least tried out, because this is where I would love to be — a Chief.”
With a stacked backfield, Alexander — who attended college at Colorado State and University of Akron — is a longshot to make the Chiefs’ roster, but coach Andy Reid is impressed with Thomas’ progeny.
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“I thought he did a real nice job,” Reid said of Alexander. “He’s actually got a tattoo on the back of his neck that’s pretty neat with an arrowhead and the whole deal. How many guys have an arrowhead tattoo at all? But he’s got that, and I know he’s proud of his dad.”
While teams are steering away from on-field work during rookie minicamps, these longshot tryouts are the best byproduct of three-day events. You never know what diamond a team might uncover or story that will be unearthed.
The son of a legend got a chance to wear the logo of his father, at least once. That alone seems worth the work.
Kansas City Chiefs star running back Jamaal Charles was a non-factor in his 2016 debut, gaining just 7 yards on two rushing attempts in last week’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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“I’m here, I’m 100 percent, you could say 110 percent,” Charles said, via The Kansas City Star. “I’m on the field, I’m playing.”
Returning from the second torn ACL of his career, Charles was originally expected to debut at Oakland in Week 6. He was pushed into a third-string capacity last week when Charcandrick West came down with an ankle injury.
Coach Andy Reid confirmed that Charles will “probably do a little bit more” this week “as long as there are no setbacks.”
Although Spencer Ware has filled in adequately as the starter, the Chiefs are averaging just 90.3 rushing yards per game — 21st in the league. They can certainly use the playmaking ability of Charles, the NFL’s career record holder with 5.47 yards per carry.
“I feel like I’m fast, my speed never left,” Charles added. “My gift is speed. And I still have it. I just thank God for allowing me to keep my speed.”