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Everything you've ever wanted to know about Chaun Thompson : Part 1

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March 11, 2003

"After doing my physical," Thompson said of his initial combine experience, "I looked down at my shorts, and thought, 'Dude, I've got on new NFL gear! I've got my name on my back!' I was really happy.

"Then I walked in and bench-pressed 225 [pounds] 29 times.  I was pumped about that; others didn't get as many. Those Division I players are just like me; you've got to hit the weight room and work hard."

Despite his impressive workout -- his 29 reps at 225 pounds was tied for most among the 12 inside linebackers who participated in the combine drill -- Thompson said he remained in awe of his surroundings.

March 19, 2003
Among the other teams recently making Thompson's acquaintance were Washington, Green Bay and Houston, which asked for tape from 2001 so the Texans' staff could watch film of Thompson when he wasn't hobbled by a bum ankle.

However, when West Texas had its Pro Day last week, Thompson felt a sense of isolationism -- even though coaches, scouts, media and well-wishing onlookers surrounded him.

"When I got through with my workout, I went over and talked to the media for a while," Thompson said. "And there were other guys still to work out, but no one was really interested in watching them. I thought, 'Man, there's some talent here.' We are Division II, but we have some players. ... But no one wanted to watch [the other players]."

Nonetheless, Thompson said he tries to keep his teammates focused on the dream of playing in the NFL. "It doesn't matter where you play," he said. "It's what you do," when you get the chance. "A lot of guys think, because it's D-II, the dream is over. I try to tell the guys, 'You've seen it happen to me.' It can happen for them, too."

March 25, 2003
Off the field, a different kind of love is in the air. It is springtime, after all. Thompson -- a new-age linebacker, complete with size and speed -- went man-to-man last week with his fiercest competitor yet. He asked Faith Boyd's father for his daughter's hand in marriage. "And you know he had to give me that fatherly talk," Thompson added. "'I love my baby, I never harmed my baby ... you better not ...'

"I was scared," he admitted, "because when he said 'you better not' he was clinching his fists!

"Then he started crying and went inside. ... A few minutes later his wife came out asking, 'What did you do to my husband?'

"I was nervous," Thompson said, "because they'd never seen him cry. ... The Combine was nothing like asking a dad for his daughter's hand."

April 10, 2003
Also in K.C. that day were fellow LBs Nick Barnett of Oregon State, Pisa Tinoisamoa of Hawaii and Khalid Abdullah of Mars Hill, players he'd previously met at the Combine.

"I told Pisa it was like we were already teammates," Chaun said. Every time we're on the road -- in Indianapolis and Kansas City -- we're roommates.

"It's good to know you've got at least one friend going in. We're all friendly and it's fun to be around those guys."

April 25, 2003
"Intriguing," says Griffin. "That's the word most often used to describe Chaun. "But that can be a double-edged sword. It basically means that there are unknowns about him. It can be a negative or it can be a positive -- like teams can't wait to see what he can do. I think of it, in Chaun's case, in a positive sense."

And what's not to be positive about? After a stellar four-year career at West Texas A&M, Chaun Thompson beat the small-school odds and received an invitation to the NFL Scouting Combine in February. Since then, it's been a blur of flights, hotel rooms and face-to-face interviews with potential employers.

"On Dec. 11, an AFC scout saw Chaun at 223 pounds run a 4.44" in the 40-yard dash, recalls Griffin. "We sent Chaun to San Diego to work out and then he turns up in Indianapolis at 240 pounds and still had his speed.

"It just goes to show that Chaun is willing to work at all costs for this, his dream. He added 20 pounds, kept his speed and he has 34 1/2-inch arms -- all of that is what teams find intriguing."