rookie hazing

(photo by Brian Murphy)

“Momma never told me there’d be days like this.

If you could guess what is on the mind of rookie wide receiver Devin Thomas, who suffered a hamstring injury Thursday and will be out for at least the next 10-14 days. If that’s not enough, this is also the week we were finally able to track him down and give him that long-awaited father-son type talk. Some of you may remember that Thomas won the 2008 Rookie Madden Bowl back in May, but that win was clearly tainted because of questionable tactics used by the Michigan State Spartan — namely using the Dallas Cowboys to win the video game tournament. On Wednesday, just 24 hours before he suffered the first setback of his professional career, we tracked him down and set him straight on the one simple rule to survive in this town.

Tell me about this Madden tournament we heard about, I said.

“Oh yeah, it’s a little competition they have for the rookies and I won,” said Thomas, full of confidence. “I handled it pretty well. I took out some guys that were pretty good, and I’ll tell you, it’s fun, man. If anybody wants to challenge me in that Madden they can come get it.”

He had no clue, but someone was in fact about to challenge him. I paused for a second and then asked, “What team did you use?”

“I was using the Redskins at first,” said Thomas, realizing where this interview was heading.

That’s not the rumor, was my reply.

“At first. I said at first,” he said. “Then I had to go ahead and sneak in the Dallas Cowboys.”

He was already using words like “sneak.” Clearly the kid knew he did wrong.

Did no one pull you aside and tell you there’s one team you’re not allowed to use? You know, the arch rival of the team that gives you a paycheck now.

“Uh … I mean … it was just a situation where I had to use the guys I used to play with, so I had to bring out someone I was comfortable with,” Thomas said, backpeddling as fast as he could.

We continued to chat while he signed autographs for fans after practice. Once the interview was over and the recorder was off, Thomas promised me that he knows better now and will refrain from sullying the Redskins good name by using a team that would have sent George Allen over the top (well, if he knew what video games were).

All in all, he’s a good kid and he seems to have a decent head on his shoulders. Let’s chalk this up to a momentary lapse in judgment and never speak of it again.

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