The Ravens signed De’Anthony Thomas Tuesday, but they aren’t saying whether he’ll be their returner come Sunday in Cincinnati.
Baltimore kept Cyrus Jones, whose muffed punt led to a momentum-changing Patriots touchdown on Sunday Night Football, on the 53-man roster even while adding Thomas.
“We'll see how it shakes out,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said.
Thomas has shown some juice over the past six seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s averaged 8.9 yards per punt return and 24.5 yards per kickoff return.
He was released, however, after fumbling on a punt return for the second time this season against the Denver Broncos in Week 7. Thomas has fumbled six times in his six seasons.
Thomas’s speed and elusiveness can also be an occasional offensive weapon as the wide receiver has 65 career catches for 509 yards and four touchdowns. He also scored two rushing touchdowns early in his career.
“He’s a good a player,” Harbaugh said. “We played against him earlier when he was with the Chiefs. He's a wide receiver. He's a return man. He also plays special teams. So, we anticipate him having a lot of possibilities for roles on our team.”
Thomas worked out for the Ravens last week but wasn’t immediately signed. He said he was on his way to Tampa to work out for the Buccaneers when he got the call that the Ravens wanted to sign him.
“It’s just been amazing ever since I got up here,” Thomas said. “They got something going and I feel like I bring a lot of spark to it. It’s just a blessing to be here and be able to contribute to this team.”
Thomas has a lot of studying to do this week, but said he’s ready to contribute on special teams or offense. He said Lamar Jackson reminds him of himself with the way he’s able to make people miss and get the team fired up with a big play.
A fourth-round pick out of Oregon in 2014, Thomas was released for the first time.
“I just feel like I have more to contribute to this league,” Thomas said. “Now it’s just another opportunity to prove it.”
Jones is proof that a returner can fumble and bounce back with success. He had four punt return fumbles on 16 attempts during two seasons with the New England Patriots. The Ravens picked him up midway through last season and he was part of their late-season run with big plays, including a 70-yard punt return touchdown against the Oakland Raiders and long return in Kansas City.
Now both he and Thomas will be looking to show that they can be trusted moving forward.
“Just got to catch the ball,” Jones said Wednesday. “I’ve got one job: catch the ball. That’s all I have to do.”
Lamar Jackson Responds to His Reported ‘Tell’
NBC commentator Cris Collinsworth said during Sunday’s broadcast that Lamar Jackson had a “tell” that could tip off opponents. Collinsworth said when Jackson dried his hands on his towel before the snap, it meant a pass was coming.
The Athletic’s Sheil Kapida found that of 39 plays after Jackson touched his towel, 21 were passes and 18 were runs. On Wednesday, Jackson dismissed that touching his towel means anything.
“I thought I was doing it every play, because it was cold,” Jackson said. “I'm trying to feel my fingers so that I can catch the ball. I'm in shotgun all the time, so I did it to catch the ball. It doesn't really matter what play it is.”
Marquise Brown Learned From Matchup With Stephon Gilmore
Rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown isn’t 100 percent health-wise yet as he continues to work through his Lisfranc and ankle injuries, but he’s continuing to make plays and learn on the fly.
Brown was shadowed by Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who is considered one of the best in the game, and still finished with three catches for 48 yards – all for first downs. Brown’s diving catch on the first offensive series of the game was a huge play.
Brown and Gilmore met up after the game to congratulate each other and exchange a few kind works.
“I told him after the game, that was big for me – just to go against him,” Brown said.
“He’s one of the best in the game and to go against him really helped me out with my confidence. He’s been in the league and gone against the top receivers. To see his technique and how he likes to play things helps me moving forward.”
Gilmore told Brown, “You’re a baller. Keep going hard and get healthy.”