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20.05.2014 10:34
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. wholesale jerseys . -- The most intriguing new face turning heads at the Denver Broncos off-season workouts isnt Montee Ball or Sylvester Williams. Its third-year tight end Julius Thomas. The 6-foot-5, 255-pound former power forward is finally healthy after spending the bulk of his first two seasons with the Denver Broncos dealing with a bum right ankle. Treating every practice like its game day, Thomas is finally flashing the skills that made him an attractive prospect coming out of Portland State in 2011 even though he had played just one season of college football. Last week, he outraced the safeties and hauled in a 50-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning. This week, he stretched out his long, lean body for a one-handed grab in the flat before weaving his way into the end zone. "It feels great. I mean, just being able to go out there, and run around, and feel healthy," Thomas said. "For so long, I feel like I was dragging a leg around. Just to go out there and feel like Im playing at a high level, its really encouraging and I feel blessed." Cornerback Champ Bailey said hes not surprised Thomas performance. "Hes been doing that for the last two years, it is just getting that opportunity to do it with the first team and getting some reps there," he said. "That is great because he has the talent. Its just all about learning how to play this game and the mental part of it. Weve seen him mature a lot over the past two years." Thomas was a power forward at Portland State who was a bully in the blocks, swatting 62 shots and pulling down 520 rebounds while leading the Vikings to two NCAA tournament appearances. But basketball wasnt really in his blood. He said he never quite felt like the hardwood was really his canvas, figuring hed be more at home pulling down passes than rebounds, blocking linebackers instead of shots. So, once he exhausted his basketball eligibility, and with one scholarship season left, he contacted Vikings football coach Nigel Burton about stepping onto the football field for the first time. Thomas was a quick study, catching 29 passes for 453 yards and earning All-Big Sky Conference first-team honours. His stock soared at the East-West Shrine Game, where he captured the attention of scouts with his athleticism and grabbed a 5-yard TD pass. That was enough to entice the Broncos into selecting him in the fourth round that year, hoping theyd discovered in Thomas the next Antonio Gates, who made a smooth transition from the basketball court at Kent State to the football field and became a perennial Pro Bowler for the San Diego Chargers. Thomas said his basketball background helped him navigate the crash course of NFL football. He makes split-second decisions, deciphers defences, anticipates the action, adjusts on the fly just like he did on the basketball floor. He said shielding a defensive back to give the quarterback an opening is just like posting up a player under the basket to give the point guard a clear passing lane. But Thomas injured his right ankle on his first -- and so far only -- reception of his pro career, and after working out with Manning after the quarterbacks arrival in Denver in March 2012, he discovered he needed an operation that sidelined him again. Hes played just nine games in his NFL career. In this era of ever bigger tight ends like New Englands Rob Gronkowski and offensive mainstays like Gates, Thomas said he can fit right in. "In my mind, I can do the same kinds of things they can," he said. If he can stay healthy, hell get the chance to prove it this season. Thomas is getting more work than he expected this off-season, especially in the passing game, because Joel Dreessen recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and wont be back until training camp in late July. "Its been a good deal for Julius in the sense that he gets more opportunities and more reps," coach John Fox said. "Hes a guy that we have a good feeling about his abilities. Now its just a matter of getting him in there, and this gives him a good opportunity." Hes making the most of it, compiling his own highlight reel of jaw-dropping plays. "Im proud for him because he came in and when he first started, everybody thought he was going to be a great player and then he got injured and had his ups and downs, but I knew he was going to be good, because he was a basketball player and most of the basketball players that play football can play," wide receiver Demaryius Thomas said. "To see him out here doing the things hes doing is amazing." Manning loves having another big receiver lining up with him. "Hes a great athlete. A big target. If you cant complete a ball to Julius as a quarterback, something is wrong with you," Manning said. "He has a great wingspan and great size and jumping ability. I think hes just continuing to get better for us." Thomas made the most of his late start in college football and he aims to do the same in the NFL now that his right ankle is mended. "Its been a frustrating experience but I try not to focus on that," Thomas said. "Its just about making it to the next day, the next play and coming out here and trying to improve, and really, thats where all my focus is now. Im doing what I can to get better." wholesale nfl jerseys .500 for the first time since Nov. 23, playing the entire second half and over 43 minutes to make it happen. nfl jerseys china wholesale cheap .ca! Hi Kerry, I dont know if you watched the Oiler game Sunday night, but what was with the five-minute major for Ryan Smyth? All he did is go in and hit Kunitz and that is all - he had forward movement, but nothing in my mind for a five-minute major! Can you explain why this is a five, maybe a two at the most? Thanks! Curtis Horvey ----- Congratulations Curtis - Cmon Ref has selected your question from the mail bag as the very first one of the 2011-12 season for me to answer! First question of the season is akin to a rookie player in the NHL scoring his first goal just like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins did in that Oilers 2-1 shootout win over the Penguins that you reference.KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Tampa Bay Rays recalled outfielder Desmond Jennings, who was leading the International League with 68 runs scored, from triple-A Durham after Friday nights 10-4 loss to Kansas City. Rays manager Joe Maddon said Jennings would hit leadoff with Johnny Damon dropping to tthe second slot in the order. nfl jerseys china cheap. Jennings, who hit .190 in 17 games in a September call up last year, hit .275 in 89 games with 12 home runs, 19 doubles, 39 RBIs and 17 stolen bases for Durham. The Rays optioned shortstop Reid Brignac, who hit .193 in 68 games, to Durham. ' ' '

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