Lions Trade for WR Thomas, Suitors Interested in Panthers’ WR Smith

After last Sunday’s last-minute win against the Seattle Seahawks, the Detroit Lions appear to think they may have a new lease on their season and traded for Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Mike Thomas.

NFL.com reported the trade and said that the team acquired the player for a middle of the draft pick. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Thomas had been drafted by Jaguars in the 2009 during the fourth round. From his 52 starts with the team, he has a career 171 catches, 1,768 yards and six touchdowns. In the current season, Thomas has 13 catches for 80 yards and he has also returned punts for the team with a more than 10-yard average.

His best season came in 2010 when Thomas caught 66 passes for 820 yards with four touchdowns.

So why acquire Thomas now? With wide receiver Nate Burleson out with a broken leg and on the injured reserve list, they team is looking to build some depth.

He will join fellow receivers Titus Young and Calvin Johnson. There’s also slot receiver Ryan Broyles who grabbed a touchdown on Sunday. Thomas should have some opportunities to play among this group.

In other wide receiver news, rumors are swirling that Carolina Panthers Steve Smith may be on the trade block.

Fox Sports Jay Glazer got the buzz going by tweeting on Tuesday, “Teams have called Carolina to gauge interest in trading for WR Steve Smith but the Panthers have turned down the inquiries thus far.”

By playing on a 1-6 team, you’d think Smith would want to be traded. He isn’t exactly having a stellar season with his 35 receptions for 589 yards (a 16.8 yards-per-reception average) and zero touchdowns.

Smith has been with the team since 2001. He’s the face of the team and its all-time leader for touchdowns, receptions and receiving yards. The player’s accolades include five Pro Bowls, a 3-time All-Pro and an integral part of the 2003 Super Bowl run.

Smith is also a great competitor.

In Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears, Smith made a comment afterwards that he had slipped on the play that enabled Bears cornerback Tim Jennings to return an interception in the fourth quarter for a touchdown. He added that prior to Jennings’ score, he had accrued large numbers against the defender.

Smith, who went seven receptions for 118 yards, said via the Chicago Sun-Times, ‘‘That was the best play he made all game on me. I know you want to pump him up, but I’ve been kicking his ass every time I come up here, and today wasn’t no different. Do you disagree?’’

Jennings heard about Smith’s words and commented, ‘‘That’s just Steve Smith being Steve Smith. He’s a great competitor. We really didn’t do a whole lot of talking. I was surprised he didn’t do a lot of talking during the game — more after the game, after the loss. That’s just the guy that he is. You can’t say too much about it, just that we won and they lost — again.’’



Debbie Baratz

Deb has been writing about the NFL and NCAA football for the last few years. She is a full-time writer and an avid sports fan. Follow her on twitter @ldbar.

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