No doubting Thomas: Bears rookie linebacker seizing his moment
By Caleb Benoit, on August 3rd, 2011
Tuesday might have been the final day for Chicago Bears rookie J.T. Thomas to practice with the first-string defense, but the young linebacker was all smiles after practice.
Linebacker J.T. Thomas runs through a drill during practice Tuesday. The Daily Journal/Nicholas Holstein
The expected return of Nick Roach on Thursday means Thomas will be moved to the second unit, but not before Thomas did his homework. He continued studying and working alongside veterans Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs during Tuesday’s training camp practice at Olivet Nazarene University.
In the absence of Roach, Thomas has taken repetitions next to Urlacher and Briggs, who have 19 seasons of experience and 13 Pro Bowl selections between them. It’s like he’s still in school. “I’m just learning the most I can as fast as I can,” he said.
The Bears made Thomas, 22, their sixth-round draft pick this spring, and he has stepped in for Roach, who was re-signed by the team but cannot begin practicing until Thursday. Roach is expected to be the starter, but in the meantime, Thomas drew praise. On Tuesday, head coach Lovie Smith started his post-practice press conference by singling out two rookies — defensive back Chris Conte and Thomas.
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