In this photo taken Dec. 15, 2014, then-New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas (23) runs against the Chicago Bears during the first half of an NFL football game in Chicago. Thomas has signed with the Washington Redskins, whose ground game has been
Charles Rex Arbogast
December 11, 2015

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) Free-agent running back Pierre Thomas signed Friday with the Washington Redskins, who ruled out third-down back Chris Thompson for Sunday's game at the Chicago Bears.

The Redskins also announced that they put defensive lineman Stephen Paea on injured reserve. Paea missed practice this week with a sprained toe.

Thompson has a torn labrum in his shoulder and there is ''a concern'' that he could wind up on injured reserve, coach Jay Gruden said. As Washington's top receiving threat out of the backfield, he is fourth on the team with 34 catches.

''He's made a lot of progress already ... but we'll see how it goes early into next week,'' Gruden said about Thompson's recovery.

Thomas was released in March by the Saints after eight seasons in New Orleans, then spent one week last month with the San Francisco 49ers. He had four carries for 12 yards in his only game with the 49ers.

The 30-year-old Thomas has run for 3,757 yards and 28 touchdowns in the NFL and has 327 catches for 2,608 yards and 12 TDs. His top rushing season came in 2009, when he gained 793 yards. He had a career-best 77 catches in 2013.

''Pierre is an established third-down back in this league, and a very good pass protector and good out of the backfield,'' Gruden said after practice Friday. ''We thought moving forward, the last four games of the season, it would be good to get a veteran in here who has played a significant amount of football and understands the game.''

The Redskins (5-7) are averaging 94.2 yards rushing per game, 26th in the NFL.

Calling Thomas ''a very bright guy,'' Gruden said he'd be comfortable using the running back against the Bears (5-7), although no decision has been made about whether he will be active Sunday.

''We're not going to make him learn everything, just a few things, if he does play this week,'' Gruden said. ''But the main thing is to get him ready for the last three games.''

In other injury news, Gruden said reserve safety Jeron Johnson is out for Sunday with an injured hamstring. Defensive lineman Jason Hatcher (pinched nerve in neck), tight end Derek Carrier (ankle), linebacker Keenan Robinson (shoulder) and wide receiver Andre Roberts (knee) were all listed as questionable.

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