Marcus Thigpen Content
Something about former Canadian Football League players and the Miami Dolphins leads to good things on the field, and Marcus Thigpen joined
Last year, while Wake was racking up a career-high 15 sacks and being named as a starter in his second Pro Bowl, Thigpen was making his mark as a dangerous and dependable kickoff and punt returner. His 27.4 yards-per-return average on 38 kickoffs tied him with Cleveland’s Josh Cribbs for third in the league among those with 20 or more returns and his 12.2 yards-per-return on 26 punts ranked sixth among those with at least 10 punt returns.
Thigpen became the first player in Dolphins history to return a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown in the same season. He took a punt 72 years to the end zone in the season opener at the Houston Texans and ran back a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown at the Buffalo Bills on a Thursday night in November. Now he has his sights set even higher.
“My goal is to get at least seven returns for touchdowns on kick returns and punt returns combined,” said Thigpen, who also hopes to see an expanded role as a running back and slot receiver. “I want to do something that’s never been done before and anything’s possible. So I’m working towards that right now and I’ve put on maybe six or seven pounds. I’m up to 200 right now and my goal is to be the starting running back for this team.”
Confidence is not an issue for Thigpen, even though he came into the 2012 training camp as a long shot to make the roster. Like Wake, he began his NFL career as an undrafted free agent in 2009 in the NFC East. The Philadelphia Eagles signed Thigpen, while Wake started with the New York Giants in 2005, was out of football in 2006 and spent 2007 and 2008 with the CFL’s B.C. Lions.
After being waived by the Eagles, signed by the Denver Broncos and then waived again 10 days later, Thigpen landed on the practice roster of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2009 and stuck with them until the end of the 2010 training camp. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats picked him up and all he did was become the first player in CFL history to score a touchdown five different ways in a season – kickoff return, punt return, missed field goal return, running play and a pass reception. That put him on the NFL radar and earned him a shot with Miami, which he took advantage of and acquired more fans in the process.
“I definitely got a lot of positive feedback through Facebook, phone calls, e-mails, Twitter and all of that stuff,” Thigpen said. “A lot of people say they love my story and love how I kept pushing and never gave up and I just want to continue doing it. I want to continue inspiring people and touching people lives.”
Thigpen also earned the trust of the Dolphins coaching staff and his teammates in 2012 and he is using that experience to keep himself motivated between now with the OTAs and minicamps and the start of training camp.
“I would say it was definitely a successful season and it’s a lot to live up to,” Thigpen, who has been a regular participant at events such as the one held at Dave & Buster's where he helped teach lessons in healthy eating and proper exercise, said. “Overall I thought it was pretty good but there’s definitely a lot of things I can work on to get better and this year coming up I feel way more comfortable already. I feel more content, I feel more secure and I’m still here. Last year I was always looking over my shoulder because you never know when you’re going to get the phone call. I feel like they trusted me enough to keep me so I’m looking forward to it.”
So are the Dolphins and their fans.