Chris Thompson was preparing for the worst.
"I thought I was going to be cut again," said Thompson, remembering the slow walk of a scout towards him Thursday morning.
It turned out, he was actually getting promoted.
The Washington Redskins announced later that day that the running back, after spending the whole season with the practice squad, would be placed on the active roster for Sunday's game against the Giants. For Thompson, it was a validating moment after months of patience.
"It's a good feeling," said Thompson in all smiles. "I'm finally active, just to get an opportunity to go out and possibly play on Sunday and do what I love to do."
Thompson -- who until Thursday was the only Redskins player to be on the practice roster since Week 1 -- has seen many faces come and go, and has thus lived each day unaware of his future. The recent news, however, has in some ways rewarded his dedication and willingness to wait for an open spot.
"It's been crazy," said Thompson, who notified his mom when he heard the news. "It's nerve-wracking man. I just hate it for [cuts] to happen to guys. I'm just thankful that organization decided to keep me here since Week 1. I think that tells me something about the organization and what they think of me. Whenever given the opportunity I want to make the best of it and try to put us in the position to win."
How Thompson will be used will be something to watch for the remainder of the season. As running back Alfred Morris will likely take the majority of snaps from the backfield, Thompson could likely see time in passing situations, asked to block or potentially run some short routes, similar to fellow running back Roy Helu Jr., who will be inactive Sunday with a toe injury.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said Friday that Thompson could also potentially see time the rest of this season in a returner's role.
"He's an excellent guy that can do some different things out of the backfield as a receiving threat," offensive coordinator Sean McVay said of Thompson. "I think he's starting to understand the protection responsibilities and he's a good runner that brings a different change of pace. If Coach Gruden decides that he'll be up, there probably will be some things and ways that we'll be able to utilize him and he's a guy that we'll continue to be excited and will continue to get better."
Still, it's reasonable to expect, while playing on a frigid day in East Rutherford, N.J., that defenders will be a little quicker for Thompson, a fifth-round pick in 2013, whose only NFL action came last year as a kick and punt returner in four games. The Giants will be the first test of his shortened season.
"That's really the best way [to prepare] is by gaining experience through those live game reps," McVay said. "I think the first thing is recognize the issues. When am I going to be used? What are my pickup responsibilities? And then once you do that, being able to be decisive, use the right technique that Coach [Randy] Jordan preaches to those guys where you're square, you've got your weight underneath you, you stick your face on people and you be physical at the point of attack."
For now, Thompson will do whatever the teams asks of him, his excitement trumping any nerves he might have for Sunday.
"He is a dynamic player," Gruden said. "Hopefully we can see a lot of him these last three weeks."