As the Redskins' senior-most running back in 2016, Chris Thompson proved that he can be a reliable option on the ground and in the passing game.
Each of Chris Thompson's first three seasons ended almost the same way, with the running back either limited or on Injured Reserve. It led to some applying the injury-prone label onto the 5-foot-8, 195-pound running back from Florida State.
2016 was a different story for Thompson, though. Not only did he appear in all 16 regular season games for the first time in his career, the 26-year old in many ways was the Redskins' most productive running back.
Thompson set personal bests in carries (68), rushing yards (356), rushing touchdowns (three), receptions (49) and receiving yards (349). He was also one of eight Redskins players to finish the season with at least 500 yards from scrimmage, tying the record set by the New Orleans Saints in 2011.
While the offense struggled at times down the stretch, Thompson was at his best. In Washington's Week 14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, Thompson recorded a game-winning 25-yard touchdown score after the two-minute warning.
Two weeks later, Thompson became the first Redskins player to score a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown in the same quarter since Kelvin Bryant in the second quarter at Dallas on Oct. 9, 1998.
"It was big, but you know I just saw as it all being a part of my journey," Thompson said of being active the entire season. "Rookie year had surgeries, second year practice squad, and third year I was trying to find my way. I think it was all a part of the process and just me growing as a player and as a man."
Thompson has rounded into one of the NFL's most complete running backs, but still believes he hasn't quite "arrived yet."
"I've still got a lot of work to do just looking back on it," Thompson said. "I made some plays, but I want to make more. I want to double my yardage and my touchdowns. So, I see where I have come from and where I am now. I'm just focused on continuing to get better."
While Thompson is set to become a restricted free agent and quarterback Kirk Cousins an unrestricted free agent, if both return to Washington for the 2017 season they'll be able to build on the chemistry that's allowed the running back to become such an asset both on the ground and through the air.
"This year he made it clear to me on multiple occasions that he had a lot of confidence in me this year and even when it came to protections, he never worried about my guy sacking him or anything," Thompson said. "It meant everything to me to be in a situation where Kirk trust me a lot in the pass and run game and protection, everything. That's what you want to hear from your quarterback and it takes time to build that. And I'm hoping in the near future, I will be right here along with Kirk for years to come."
Thompson will alternate his offseason training sessions between the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park and in his native Florida with the goal to come back next season and build off his career year.
"[I'm going to] get my body back healthy and back to form and get ready for next year," he said.