Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Thomas Decides to Leave Team Surprise Departure after Productive 2012

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Thomas Decides to Leave Team Surprise Departure after Productive 2012

Article excerpt

Pitt linebacker Todd Thomas told the coaching staff he plans to leave the team, Panthers coach Paul Chryst said Wednesday.

Thomas practiced Tuesday with the second team at Pitt's first practice of training camp but was not present Wednesday at the team's second practice.

"I had a chance to have some conversations with him the last couple of days, and he told me last night and this morning that he's going to leave the team," Chryst said. "I'm not going to talk about any of our discussions with him, and should something change, then I'll visit that."

Chryst declined to answer when asked if Thomas would seek a transfer or remain at Pitt. Thomas could not be reached for comment.

Thomas figured to play a significant role in Pitt's defense this season, finishing 2012 as the team's fourth-leading tackler despite playing just nine games as he recovered from offseason ACL surgery.

He finished 2012 with 59 tackles and an interception. He also blocked a punt and recovered it for a touchdown against Louisville.

When the Panthers took the practice field Tuesday, though, Thomas was taking snaps mostly with the second team. Thomas found himself behind redshirt junior Anthony Gonzalez and redshirt freshman Mike Caprara at the two outside linebacker positions.

Afterwards, Thomas said he would use the move as motivation.

"I'm surprised, but I can't do anything about it," Thomas said Tuesday. "I just have to go out there and work hard and just compete.

"I'm just going to go out and play my butt off and try to win a spot."

Chryst, for his part, praised this redshirt junior out of Beaver Falls High School after Tuesday.

"I like Todd Thomas, he's played, obviously, for us," Chryst said. "With all those linebackers, we've got to start with six, then find the best three with that. He'll certainly be in that group.

"You love the energy that he brings, love the competitiveness that he brings to it. …

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