Paul Chryst started his post-practice huddle by informing the media that linebacker Todd Thomas has decided to leave the team. The news comes on just the second day of camp, and one day after Thomas was pushed to the second team as a motivational tactic.
Chryst had this to say, after practice.
"I had a chance to have some conversations with him the last couple days, and he told me last night and this morning that he's going to leave the team," Chryst said. "I'm not going to talk about any of our discussions with him; should something change, then I'll visit that.
"I obviously like Todd and we want what's best for every one of these kids that's in the program. I'm not going to talk any more about that. We're going to go on coaching and working with the guys here."
A shocking announcement, obviously. Thomas started in nine games for Pitt last season and was the team's fourth leading tackler with 59. In total, he has started 13 games over the past two seasons, and always stood out as an impact player. He was expected to start this season. After being relegated to the second team yesterday, though, Thomas sounded irritated and Chryst offered a pretty telling quote:
“I think he can give us some stuff, but he can play at a higher level than what he's been, need him to. That's not negative.”
He added, however: “I think he thinks a lot of himself, you know, and match it.”
With Thomas apparently now out of the picture, Chryst seems to be continuing his dramatic -- although arguably necessary -- roster purge of Wannstedt/Graham devotees. There's almost no doubt that such drastic turnover will hurt Pitt in the short-term, but I like to think it'll payoff down the road when Chryst has a hard-working team fully committed to him.
But, at least for this year, Thomas' departure is big news.