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Chris Thompson will continue as the third-down back despite Rob Kelley’s injury

Chris Thompson

FILE - In this Sept. 17, 2017, file photo, Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson (25) carries the ball against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL football game, in Los Angeles. With DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon gone and defenses focused on stopping Jordan Reed, the Redskins have a not-so-secret weapon in the running and passing games in third-down back Chris Thompson, who could have an even bigger role against the Oakland Raiders (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo, File)


Although Hall of Famer John Riggins has called for Washington to start Chris Thompson, it doesn’t sound as if the running back’s role will change despite Rob Kelley’s rib injury.

Coach Jay Gruden said Wednesday the team will continue to use Thompson as a third-down and change-of-pace back.

“I’ve said before, he’s a very valuable guy in the role that he’s in -- third down,” Gruden said, via quotes distributed by the team. “He’s also one of our kick returners. He does a lot of getting back on track calls on second down-and-long, and there’s some first-down plays that he’s in. But, yes, it’s important for us to keep him healthy. He’s not a guy that I personally want to give him 30 carries a game. He probably wants it, but he probably won’t get it.”

Thompson has only six carries but for 81 yards and two touchdowns. He also has seven catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.

The fifth-year veteran insists he’s fine with whatever the coaching staff asks of him. He knows even if he isn’t the feature back, he still plays an important role.

“It’s third and four, just the most stressful situation,” Thompson said, via Mike Jones of The Washington Post. “I’ve got to go out there, and I’ve got to get the first down. It’s something that I had to get used to, but over time, I started to get more and more comfortable. Once I got comfortable with myself in being in that role, I was able to execute better.”

Kelley was limited in practice Wednesday, while Thompson (back) was a full participant.