Running back Chris Thompson’s first season with Jay Gruden didn’t play out exactly as he hoped.
Thompson was a 2013 fifth-round pick and got cut by Washington during Gruden’s first training camp as the team’s head coach, but that wasn’t the end of their relationship. Gruden told Thompson he wanted the back “to come back here [on the practice squad] because I know the type of player you can be” and Thompson did that before moving into a role on the active roster the next year.
He’d go on to catch 206 passes over the next five seasons and outlasted Gruden in Washington as Gruden was fired five games into the 2019 season. He landed a job as the Jaguars offensive coordinator and he’ll be coaching Thompson again after the back signed with Jacksonville as a free agent.
“He is one of the biggest reasons I was able to have the success that I had in Washington and to be able to stick around there,” Thompson said, via John Reid of Jacksonville.com. “Throughout this whole process and all my time there in Washington, he believed in me. He gave me every single opportunity that he possibly could. Me coming here to Jacksonville, being familiar with his offense, it is good for me.”
Thompson said he’s spoken to quarterback Gardner Minshew about playing in Gruden’s offense and that he thinks Minshew is “grasping it well” as they work through the remote offseason program. If that carries over to the fall and the offense follows the path Gruden traveled in Washington, it will likely lead to a fair amount of Minshew’s passes coming Thompson’s way.