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Horse Tracks: Demaryius Thomas is no Ashley Lelie edition

With the Demaryius Thomas saga unfolding over the last few months, I always maintained that there was nothing to worry about. Pundits debated if the waiting was worth it, whether the Broncos should move on,and whether his family's missteps somehow meant Thomas was less trustworthy. I knew that the Broncos would get the deal done, even when twitter was flipping out that, with an hour to go, few signs showed that a deal was imminent. Let's be honest, on the field and in the locker room, Thomas has been nothing short of exemplary. It's not like he's Ashley Lelie or anything...

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Okay, maybe I'm being harsh. Ashley Lelie had his moments... in 2005.

The 19th pick in the 2002 draft, Lelie was a fan favorite until the 2006 offseason. When the Broncos acquired Javon Walker from the Packers in the 2006 Draft, Lelie felt threatened and demanded a trade. Retrospect tells us that Ashley believed that becoming a number one receiver was his right because he'd waited for his turn. This is not how it works in the NFL and it's absolutely not how it worked under the Mike Shannahan regime.

Lelie held out of training camp and was eventually traded to the Atlanta Falcons. Read about that and the state of then-recent trades, including the Clinton Portis for Champ Bailey trade, here.

Needless to say, whatever caused Lelie's failure to assume the number one receiver position in Denver only got worse in Atlanta. He soon found himself in San Francisco and then ended up in the NFL's dumpster, the Oakland Raiders.

The Broncos system made Ashley Lelie a talented receiver. Demaryius Thomas has talent. There's a big difference. If you're cloudy on what I mean, be sure to watch former Bronco Julius Thomas this year as he learns firsthand while trying to catch passes from Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles.

Horse Tracks

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