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 Cowboys Agree To Terms With RB Anthony Thomas 
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Post Cowboys Agree To Terms With RB Anthony Thomas
IRVING, Texas - The Cowboys beefed up their running back position even more on Monday, signing former Bears veteran Anthony Thomas to a one-year deal.

While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, Thomas won't be placed on the Cowboys' official roster until Tuesday, when the transaction will go through the league office. To make room on their roster, the Cowboys have to release another player and could make a few more roster moves as well.

But the addition of Thomas gives the Cowboys more size and depth at running back, a position head coach Bill Parcells said he wanted to address in the off-season.

Parcells made it clear he wanted to give Julius Jones some help after the rookie tied an NFL-record with Earl Campbell as the only backs in league history to have at least 30 carries in three straight games.

While the Cowboys did draft Marion Barber in the fourth round last weekend, Thomas gives the team more of a short-yardage threat with his 6-2, 225-pound frame.

"Anthony will provide an excellent compliment to the other backs we have on the roster," said Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones. "He gives us depth and experience and makes. His addition will make us take a long hard look at carrying four backs on the roster in the fall."

Thomas, also known as the "A-Train," was an unrestricted free agent and deemed expendable by the Bears, who just drafted Texas running back Cedric Benson and signed Thomas Jones to a four-year deal before last season.

Thomas, rushed for just 404 yards on 122 carries (3.3 average) with only two touchdowns. Thomas backed up Jones for most of the season, but did start games, including an 110-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Giants.

Against Dallas on Thanksgiving Day, Thomas carried the ball only three times for no yards, and caught two passes for 20 yards.

The former Michigan standout had his best season as a rookie, earning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2001, rushing for 1,183 yards and seven touchdowns for the Bears. He followed that season up by rushing for 721 yards in 2002 and then 1,024 more in 2003.

The Cowboys made a similar move last summer just before training camp when they signed veteran Eddie George to a one-year deal. With Jones missing half the season with a shoulder injury, George was forced into the lineup but struggled, rushing for just 432 yards and averaged 3.3 yards per carry.

George was not re-signed in the off-season and has yet to join another team for what would be his 10th pro season.

The addition of Thomas might signal another roster move to the running back position here in the near future.

Although the club already released fullback/running back Richie Anderson last week, there still appears to be too many backs in the picture.

While Jones is the projected starter, having rushed for 819 yards in only eight games as a rookie, Barber's spot should be rather safe as well, being a fourth-round pick.

And since Barber has also returned kickoffs, it could squeeze out ReShard Lee, who led the team with 41 kickoff returns last season. Lee, who only carried the ball 27 times last year (128 yards), struggled at times with mental errors, Parcells twice saying Lee was a liability without the ball in his hands.

Other backs in the mix include Irving, Texas native Tyson Thompson, an undrafted free agent from San Jose State. In just three days of rookie mini-camp, Parcells already commented on Thompson's speed and ability.

And don't forget about Erik Bickerstaff, who missed all of last season with a torn Achilles suffered in the summer. Bickerstaff has spent the last 10 months rehabbing the injury and is expected to return to action by the start of training camp. Through his rehab, Bickerstaff appears to weigh considerably less than his listed 230 pounds on last year's final roster. Still, although he's trying to return from one of the toughest injuries in sports, Bickerstaff could also provide some power with inside runs. In 2003, Bickerstaff had 56 yards on just 19 carries.

May 3rd, 2005, 8:19 am
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Joined: January 6th, 2005, 10:54 am
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It kind of made me mad when the Bears didn't utilize him.

"If he isn't the best football player, the best runner, that the Lord has ever made, then the Lord has yet to make one." Wayne Fontes on Barry.

May 3rd, 2005, 8:29 am
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Joined: August 6th, 2004, 8:33 pm
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It's not that Thomas is a bad back at by any means. He was just in a system that didn't want him. Now that he is in Dallas, he could flourish. Parcells likes to run the ball similarly to how Thomas ran at Michigan. He will be used more often than not this year. With Julius Jones already being injured last season, they needed a reliable backup. And that's what Thomas is. I like the pickup a lot by the Cowboys. I wonder how they will incorporate Marion Barber into the lineup :?:

May 3rd, 2005, 11:45 pm
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Joined: February 27th, 2005, 8:56 pm
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I think the "A train" will do the same sorta stuff that Eddie George did last year for 'em and Julius Jones will get the bulk of the carrys...


Michael Huff for DROY

May 4th, 2005, 4:18 pm
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