Counting Down the NFC North's 5 Biggest Busts: No. 5, Anthony Thomas, RB, Bears

Andrew Garda@andrew_gardaFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 19:  Running back Anthony Thomas #35 of the Chicago Bears carries the ball during the game against the Green Bay Packers on September 19, 2004 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Bears defeated the Packers 21-10. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

We're looking at the biggest mistakes teams in the NFC North have made, and I have to start with a guy who introduced the word bust into my lexicon—Anthony Thomas.

Oh, the A-Train, you had us fooled for a bit.

After a fantastic rookie season, where you nearly topped 1,200 yards, we thought you might be the answer to Bears fans' dreams.

The signs for bust were there, though—we just didn't see them before the Train ran us over.

There were several reasons why Thomas never panned out.

First of all, he was always hurt. In eight years, Thomas only played in 16 games once. In two seasons, he couldn't even stay with the team.

He was hurt way too often, which opened the door for Thomas Jones to come in and take his job, leading to his departure for the Dallas Cowboys where his injuries, coupled with ineffectiveness, cost him the job there as well.

That was the other thing that caused Thomas to bust. From the beginning, you had to wonder how long he was going to be able to keep his job.

Thomas was able to run for a ton of yards, but he had to carry the ball nearly 300 times to do it and his yards per carry was a middling 4.3.

His YPC dropped his second season to a terrible 3.4, which looks worse when you realize he only played 12 games. If you play less games, you should have a higher YPC.

Thomas was an unmitigated disaster in Dallas, as he got no traction when he carried the ball (just 2.2 yards per carry), was useless at the goal line and in short yardage and just generally looked bad running the ball.

Marion Barber emerged shortly after, and since Thomas couldn't even contribute on special teams, it was adios!

Thomas briefly looked like his early career self in Buffalo during the 2006 season, but it was just an illusion.

Overall, Thomas was a pretty big bust for a guy who was taken in the early second round of the 2001 NFL draft. He showed promise early, but injuries and an inability to transition his college talent to the pro game took that promise and broke it in half.

While not the biggest bust in NFC North history, he was a significant miss by the Chicago Bears.

Next up on Tuesday? The fourth-biggest bust!

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