AFTER GOING undrafted, Syracuse safety Phillip Thomas signed with the Eagles. Then people started asking him about signing with the Redskins.
Reporters who covered the Eagles were queried by fans who were sure Thomas was signing in Washington. Eagles officials insisted they had signed him.
At Eagles rookie camp this weekend, Thomas definitely was on the field, wearing a white No. 45 jersey. It didn't seem likely he also was finding time to participate in Washington workouts.
Turns out, Thomas says he was aware when he was at Syracuse that someone was posing as him on Facebook. This person, still unidentified, apparently was the source of social media postings that claimed Thomas was signing with the Redskins. According to a story this weekend on sports.yahoo.com, the fake Thomas conducted a Washington radio interview and communicated several times with Yahoo NFL reporter Les Carpenter, spinning ever more elaborate explanations of how he could be listed on the Eagles' roster while still insisting he was going to become a Redskin.
"When I first found out about it, I never paid it any mind, [didn't think] it was going to go this far, messing around with my team and things like that," Thomas said Sunday, the next-to-last day of rookies-only workouts at NovaCare. "People at my school were telling me this guy was posting empty bottles of liquor, negative stuff, and had people thinking it was me. That was when I really started paying attention to it. I went to my athletic department at Syracuse" in an attempt to get the page taken down. "Obviously, they didn't do it," said Thomas, who declared for the draft a year early after being suspended from the Syracuse team for a year for unspecified rules violations.
"It's crazy, man, it's crazy what people take the time out to do," said Thomas, who says he has no clue to the fake Thomas' identity. The fake Thomas seems to know an awful lot about the real Thomas, possibly through the real Thomas' social media postings. The real Thomas, by the way, is PThomas_1 on Twitter.
"I really don't know who this guy is. I'm not scared for my life or anything like that, but it's crazy that people take time out of their life to just go mess up somebody else's life. I'm here, I'm a Philadelphia Eagle, I'm proud to be here," Thomas said.
When Thomas first heard the "Redskins" reports, he got in touch with Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and with Thomas' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, to tell them what had happened, he said. "All I can do is be glad I'm here now, be glad to learn and play in Philadelphia," he said.