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Ex-Cats in the NFL: ‘Money Mike’ traded; not time for Foles in Philadelphia

Mike Thomas Lance Briggs

Mike Thomas couldn’t catch another former Arizona Wildcat — Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs — during an interception return for a touchdown on Oct. 7. Photo by Phil Sears-US PRESSWIRE

Former Arizona Wildcats receiver Mike Thomas is on the move to Detroit, while ex-UA quarterback Nick Foles is going to stay right where he’s been — on the Philadelphia bench.

Thomas, a fourth-year pro, was traded Tuesday from Jacksonville to the Lions, with an official announcement pending as of Wednesday morning until he passes his physical.

“Money Mike” (5-8, 198) caught 158 passes for 1,688 yards in his first three seasons with Jacksonville, but his role had been diminished this season, even after signing a five-year, $19 million contract extension after last year.

After catching a Pac-12 career record 259 passes with the Wildcats, Thomas was a fourth-round pick of Jacksonville in 2009. The Jaguars reportedly received a fifth-round pick for Thomas in the trade with Detroit, where he could work in the slot and as a returner. Some of the early buzz has him as a possibility to be a multiple threat lined up in the backfield.

“I’m pretty sure I’ll be out there running around doing something,” Thomas told the Detroit Free Press. “That’s all I can ask for is just to get out there and have an opportunity to contribute and we’ll see what happens.”

Meanwhile, as the Philadelphia Eagles season spirals, coach Andy Reid said Wednesday morning he is sticking with Michael Vick as his starting quarterback. Foles, a rookie third-rounder, has been Vick’s backup through the team’s 3-4 start, but hasn’t taken a snap.

Speculation was that Reid would insert Foles for the turnover-prone Vick for Monday night’s game at New Orleans. That would be a heck of a spot — and spotlight — for a rookie quarterback to make his starting debut. Perhaps Foles will get his first taste of playing time anyway and become the first Arizona quarterback since 1973 to throw a pass in the NFL.

Elsewhere, former Arizona offensive lineman Eben Britton has lost his starting job in Jacksonville.

Here is the list of former Arizona Wildcats in the NFL:

–Lance Briggs, LB, Chicago
–Eben Britton, OL, Jacksonville
–Antoine Cason, CB, San Diego
–Juron Criner, WR, Oakland
–Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia
–Nick Folk, PK, New York Jets
–Robert Golden, DB, Pittsburgh
–Chris Gronkowski, FB, Denver
–Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England
–Earl Mitchell, DT, Houston
–Brooks Reed, OLB, Houston
–D’Aundre Reed, DE, Minnesota
–Mike Thomas, WR, Detroit
–Trevin Wade, CB, Cleveland

Practice squad
–WR David Douglas (New York Giants)

–C Colin Baxter (San Diego)
–WR Gino Crump (Arizona)
–DE Lionel Dotson (Buffalo)
–OLB Ricky Elmore (Arizona)
–OL Adam Grant (Denver)
–TE Fendi Onobun (Buffalo)
–LB Paul Vassallo (Arizona)

Injured reserve
–LB Spencer Larsen (New England)
–DB Nate Ness (Carolina)

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