Darwin Thompson: “I just wanted to run into something”
Darwin Thompson, among the team’s smallest players, was feeling pretty tall after the Chiefs’ 38-17 preseason opening victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
The smallest of the Chiefs’ running backs, Thompson got into the end zone on a 29-yard reception from Chase Litton in the third quarter and had one of the game’s highlight plays when he ran through a tackle on his way to a 9-yard gain.
“I proved a little bit, I proved 5-8, 195 (pounds), I can play in the NFL,” Thompson said. “I can break tackles. I can do the same things I did in college. Let me build on top of that.”
The building will continue. Thompson, the sixth-round draft selection in April who played one season at Utah State, has had a productive training camp. He remains behind three veterans on the depth chart but was the third running back in Saturday’s game because Damien Williams didn’t play because of injury.
Thompson’s five rushing attempts were the most by a Chiefs player. He entered the game in the second quarter and on his fourth attempt ran out of the grasp of linebacker Germaine Pratt to get the Chiefs close to a first down.
Early in the third quarter, he found the end zone. Thompson circled out of the backfield and took a short pass from LItton. Thompson was too quick for the covering linebacker and used his speed to finish the play.
“I didn’t know it was coming to me,” Thompson said. “As soon as I broke off the linebacker, there it was. It was like it was in slow motion ... I was like, ‘Get going fast, take off now.’ As soon as I got the ball, you lift you knees. Somebody’s on your tail.”
Starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes watched from the sideline and liked what he saw.
“The explosiveness you see when he gets the ball in his hands, it’s special, it’s why he got drafted,” Mahomes said. “For him to be able to shake that defender in man-to-man coverage and make the catch and then run.”
Andy Reid said he was especially eager to see Thompson against an opponent other than the Chiefs in training camp, where contact is limited.
“It’s hard in camp because there are only a couple of days where we are live,” Reid said. “Getting in a game is important for that position. He got in ... and did a nice job running. He’s a viable receiver, so I thought all and all it was good.”
Thompson, from Jenks, Okla., felt the same way. And as the pregame nerves began to bubble, he was happy to get things started.
“When I first came in, I just wanted to run into something,” Thompson said. “Let me get that nerve out of the way.”
Thompson did, and made the most of his first NFL opportunity.