Commanders activate Logan Thomas from PUP, tight end won’t play in preseason

Commanders activate TE Thomas from PUP, won't play in preseason originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Commanders‘ tight end room has been by far the thinnest group since training camp began, as almost every player of the bunch has dealt with some sort of injury. During Saturday’s preseason loss to Kansas City, the Burgundy and Gold were down to just one healthy tight end at one point during the game.

Washington received good news on Monday, though, as standout Logan Thomas was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Thomas, who suffered a torn ACL, MCL, medial and lateral meniscus during a December contest in Las Vegas last season, was back at practice and participated in both individual and positional drills but did not partake in team sessions.

“It felt good to be back, part of a team,” Thomas said following practice. “That’s what means most for me.”

Head coach Ron Rivera called Thomas’ return “very nice” and said, “the best thing is that this is a step and part of the process.” He was also insistent that Thomas’ activation was not a result of the team’s current lack of depth at the position.

“That’s one thing I’ll never do. I’ll never put a player on the field until he’s ready,” Rivera said. “When the trainers and doctors tell me he’s cleared, he’ll be cleared.”

The tight end said he was cleared by team doctors to return to practice after undergoing specific testing last week. Such testing consisted of jumping exercises and power outputs, which Thomas said he received better marks now than he did at this time last year when he was fully healthy. Thomas said he figured his return would come following the team’s final preseason game, but he was cleared one week earlier.

Now, the next step for Thomas is to integrate contact into his routine and build his confidence back to where he was. The 31-year-old did partake in some blocking drills during the early part of Monday’s session and looked good doing so.

Thomas won’t play in the Commanders’ final preseason game this Saturday in Baltimore, Rivera noted, saying the priority is to ramp him up in practice and get as much work with new quarterback Carson Wentz as possible.

“We’re all kind of just creatures of habit,” Thomas said. ” … Today I spent a lot of time during the special team’s periods catching passes from Carson since I’ve never done it before. It felt good, we got on the same page and the body communication was really good.”

The tight end specifically mentioned Wentz’s velocity when throwing the football, saying the ball got quicker to him on certain routes than it used to. That chemistry is a work in progress, especially considering Monday was the first time he caught passes from his new signal-caller. But overall, Thomas liked what he saw.

“The ball gets there a little quicker with a different timing. … It’s cool,” he said. “It’s something that will take me a little bit to get adjusted to, but I’m excited to see where it goes.”

Throughout Wentz’s six seasons in the NFL, the 29-year-old has found arguably his most success when targeting his tight ends. In Philadelphia, Wentz frequently looked the way of both Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Such was the same in Indianapolis, as Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox combined for seven scores in 2021.

Thomas knows Wentz’s tendency to look towards tight ends often but isn’t getting overly excited about how frequently he’ll be targeted. Winning is simply his biggest priority, regardless of what his individual role might be.

“It’s all about the team game for me. I just want to do my job and let the team win,” Thomas said. “If my stats are good and we’re moving the ball because of that, great. But if I’m run blocking and making the occasional third down catch when we need to move the chains and that type of stuff, great. Ultimately, if we have more points than the other team, we win. That’s all I’m worried about.”

Both Thomas and Rivera were non-committal about the tight end’s availability for Week 1 against Jacksonville, which is under three weeks away. There’s a chance Thomas is able to play, but he must clear a few more hurdles first.

“That’s another thing that’s not solely on myself. As a competitor, I’d love to be out there Week 1,” Thomas said. “But I know myself. If I’m not ready to go out there and be the full version of myself, we can buy another week or two weeks. But games are ultra-meaningful, whether they’re early in the season or late in the season. So I’d love to be out there.”

“No,” Rivera said when asked if he had an answer about Thomas’ Week 1 chances, “other than they’re telling us that as long as he continues to progress, there will be some good things.”

Whether Thomas is able to play in Week 1 remains up in the air. But when he does ultimately return, his head coach has high hopes — both as an impact player and how he helps the rest of the young tight ends on the roster.

“He’s a guy that has the athleticism and versatility to become a complete tight end,” Rivera said. “All the other guys have specific skill sets. He’s probably the one that’s the most well-rounded.”

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.

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