Chris Thompson figured the Redskins would select a running back in last week’s NFL draft, just as they’ve done every year since 2013, when they took him in the fifth round out of Florida State and drafted Rutgers running back Jawan Jamison two rounds later. Thompson was as surprised as anyone that Derrius Guice, widely considered the second-best running back in this year’s class, fell to Washington in the late second round due to rumors about his lateness to pre-draft meetings and concerns about his maturity level.
Thompson is the veteran among the Redskins’ collection of running backs, who averaged the fifth-fewest yards per game (90.5) last season. As he continues to rehab from the fractured fibula he suffered in November, Thompson said he’s excited to share the knowledge he’s acquired from five years in the league with Guice when the team begins OTAs at Redskins Park later this month.
“Once I talk with him, be able to sit down and talk with him and just get a good feel with him, I just want to help him be a better professional,” Thompson said Thursday during an interview on The Team 980. “I think there’s nothing wrong with not letting the kid in you die. There’s no problem with that. You want to have guys in here that love being here, that love the game of football. From what I’ve heard from everybody — coaches, scouts, the owner — this kid loves to play football, and he’s just a kid at heart. You don’t take that away from him, you just help him be a better professional and help him be able to handle his business while he’s here in this building and on the field. He doesn’t get in trouble off the field, so you don’t have to worry about those issues.”
Before the draft, there was a report that Guice was involved in an “altercation” with members of the Philadelphia Eagles’ organization, which Guice and Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman denied. There were also rumblings that Guice spends too much time away from the football field — gasp! — playing video games.
“I never saw a concern with that until I started seeing reports about it,” Guice, who occasionally invites fans to watch live streams of him playing the popular video game Fortnite, said a few days before the draft. ” ‘I game too much,’ this and that. I still was getting my workouts in, I was still ready for pro day, I was still ready for the combine. I don’t see what the problem is. Obviously, I’m going to have a little free time when all I got to do is work out every day. I don’t see what the big deal is. A lot of people in professional sports now play video games. I don’t understand how you would draft somebody that played video games all day, but you’re concerned about drafting somebody in the future that played video games.”
Cornerback David Amerson, the Redskins’ second-round pick the year they drafted Thompson, credited spending more time studying film and less time playing video games for his improvement with the Raiders after he was waived by Washington two games into his third pro season. Thompson is proof that playing a lot of video games doesn’t preclude one from being a good football player.
“I’ve gotten so many people say to me, ‘Help him be able to balance video games and football,'” Thompson said Thursday. “Well, I don’t know if y’all know anything about me. I don’t do anything else but play video games and football, other than Redskins events. I don’t do absolutely anything else. Everybody — my friends, family, girlfriend — everybody knows that. That’s the only thing I want to do when I’m out of this building, and once I get my study and my football in. So there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s me getting off my feet. That’s me getting away from this life, getting away from real life. I’m able to go into a fantasy world, so I don’t see a problem with that as well. I’m going to help him out. I’m going to do everything that I can to help him be as good of a football player and person that he can be for this organization.”
While Thompson’s role as the Redskins’ third-down back is secure, Guice’s arrival figures to cut into the playing time of fellow running backs Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine. Thompson has some advice for them, too.
“We were all just kind of surprised that we were able to get him, because we all knew this whole time they were going to get a running back,” Thompson said. “I’ve been telling them that forever. It’s gonna happen every single year. At this point, Perine being the youngest guy, I’ve tried my best to help him understand that, regardless of what you do the previous season, they’re going to bring running backs in. That’s just how it’s going to happen. For us, on the individual level, you just have to continue to focus on what you can do, and not worry about what they’re doing upstairs. That’s the biggest thing. … If Guice becomes the starter, there’s two or three guys that are going to have to fall behind him. Be one of those guys. Just do whatever you can to be one of those guys.”
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