PFWA names Chiefs’ De’Anthony Thomas All-Rookie punt returner

Kansas City Chiefs running back De'Anthony Thomas (13) was cheered into the end zone during a punt return for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders during the first half of their NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)

Kansas City Chiefs running back De’Anthony Thomas (13) was cheered into the end zone during a punt return for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders during the first half of their NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs had to wait four games to start the regular season to unleash rookie running back/returner De’Anthony Thomas, who battled a hamstring injury from Weeks 1 to 4.

But Thomas made up for the delay on his return in Week 5 with explosive plays on offense and special teams in the final 12 games.

His production as a punt returner, which included an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown in Week 15, was recognized Tuesday by the Pro Football Writers of America with the naming of Thomas to the All-Rookie team.

Thomas, the Chiefs’ fourth-round pick (124th overall) out of Oregon in the 2014 NFL Draft, totaled 405 punt return yards on 34 attempts.

His signature game came in Week 15 against the Oakland Raiders where he produced 156 punt return yards on eight attempts. The yardage ranks as the second-highest total in a single game in team history and led to the league recognizing Thomas as the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.

Thomas also contributed on kickoff returns, totaling 428 kickoff return yards on 14 attempts.

The Chiefs utilized Thomas in a variety of ways on offense where he totaled 113 yards rushing and a touchdown on 14 carries and 156 yards receiving on 23 catches.

Tuesday marked a second straight day of recognition from the PFWA for Thomas, who was selected Monday to the All-AFC team as a punt returner.

LOCAL TIES

Two former University of Missouri players received All-Rookie recognition.

Defensive ends E.J. Gaines of the St. Louis Rams and Kony Ealy of the Carolina Panthers were among four players honored on the defensive line.

Click here to view the entire All-Rookie team.

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