McLeod Bethel-Thompson

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McLeod Bethel-Thompson
refer to caption
Bethel-Thompson before the Argonauts season opener in 2019.
No. 4 – Toronto Argonauts
Personal information
Born: (1988-07-03) July 3, 1988 (age 32)
San Francisco, California
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
High school:San Francisco (CA) Balboa
College:Sacramento State
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Roster status:Active
CFL status:International
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at
Career CFL statistics
Passing completions:535
Passing attempts:798
Passing yards:6,227
Passer rating:93.1
Player stats at PFR
Player stats at

McLeod John Baltazar Bethel-Thompson[1] (born July 3, 1988) is an American professional Canadian football quarterback for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He played college football at UCLA and Sacramento State. He is the grandson of the 1948 Olympic shot put champion Wilbur 'Moose' Thompson. Bethel-Thompson is a journeyman quarterback having been a member of five different NFL teams, two CFL teams, and one team in both the Arena Football League and the United Football League.

High school career[edit]

Bethel-Thompson with the UCLA Bruins in 2007

Bethel-Thompson graduated from San Francisco's Balboa High School in 2006, where he played football, basketball, and baseball. He was the City's Football Player of the Year in 2006[2] and its Back of the Year in 2005.[3] In 2004 and 2005, he led his team to the Turkey Bowl, the City's annual championship, held on Thanksgiving Day in Kezar Stadium.

College career[edit]

After a redshirt year at UCLA in 2006, Bethel-Thompson shared the Bruins' quarterback duties in the 2007 season. He started in the 2007 Las Vegas Bowl where the Bruins lost to BYU.[4] Bethel saw action in five games for UCLA in 2007, completing 23 of 55 passes for 293 yards, with one touchdown and five interceptions.

Bethel-Thompson played at Sacramento State from 2008 to 2010. In three seasons at Sacramento State, Bethel-Thompson appeared in 12 games, completing 113 of 197 passes for 1,322 yards, with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions.


Year Team Passing Rushing
Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg TD
2007 UCLA 23 55 41.8 293 5.3 1 5 74.4 15 −32 −2.1 0
2008 Sacramento 28 49 57.1 415 8.5 2 1 137.7 16 33 2.1 1
2009 Sacramento 64 110 58.2 746 6.8 4 5 118.1 25 1 0.0 1
2010 Sacramento 21 38 55.3 161 4.2 1 2 89.0 6 −5 −0.8 0
Career 136 252 54.0 1,615 6.4 8 13 108.0 62 −3 0.0 2


Professional career[edit]

San Jose SaberCats[edit]

After going undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft, Bethel-Thompson joined the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League. During three games played, Bethel-Thompson completed 20 out of 43 passes for 220 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception, as well as 2 rushes for 24 yards.[6]

San Francisco 49ers[edit]

Bethel-Thompson played for the San Francisco 49ers for a short time, and was expected to be the third-string quarterback for the 49ers after Josh McCown was cut, but was later cut himself.[7]

Sacramento Mountain Lions[edit]

On September 3, 2011, Bethel-Thompson signed with the Sacramento Mountain Lions. Bethel-Thompson competed with Jordan Palmer, former Fresno State quarterback Ryan Colburn, and Trevor Harris for the starting job. Bethel-Thompson ended up starting the last two games at quarterback over Colburn. Palmer was released and Harris signed with the Orlando Predators.

Miami Dolphins[edit]

Later in 2011, Bethel-Thompson signed to the Miami Dolphins practice squad.

Minnesota Vikings[edit]

Bethel-Thompson signed a future contract with the Minnesota Vikings on January 13, 2012. He was named to the 53-man active roster just before the start of the 2012 regular season after beating out veteran Sage Rosenfels for the third-string quarterback job. He was released on October 8, 2013, when the Vikings signed Josh Freeman.

San Francisco 49ers (II)[edit]

Bethel-Thompson was claimed off waivers by the San Francisco 49ers from the Minnesota Vikings on October 9, 2013.[8] He was put on waivers by the 49ers on November 26, 2013, then signed to the practice squad a day later. He was signed to a reserve/future deal and was activated to the active roster on January 23, 2014.[9] The 49ers waived Bethel-Thompson on August 25, 2014.[10]

New England Patriots[edit]

He was signed to the New England Patriots practice squad on August 31, 2014.[11] He was released by the Patriots on September 9, 2014.[12]

Minnesota Vikings (II)[edit]

He was signed by the Vikings on September 22, 2014 to the Vikings' practice squad. The signing came in part due to the injury to Matt Cassel, leaving the Vikings with only two healthy quarterbacks on the roster, in Teddy Bridgewater and Christian Ponder. After Bridgewater's week 4 injury, Chandler Harnish was signed to the practice squad and eventually the active roster to back up Ponder in Week 5 against the Green Bay Packers, leaving Bethel-Thompson on the practice squad. He was released from the team on October 7, 2014.[13]

Miami Dolphins (II)[edit]

On October 15, 2014, Bethel-Thompson was signed to the Miami Dolphins' practice squad.[14] He was released on September 5, 2015 as part of the Dolphins' final roster cuts.[15] On September 6, 2015, Bethel-Thompson was signed to the Miami Dolphins' practice squad.[16] On September 9, 2015, he was released by the Dolphins.[17]

San Francisco 49ers (III)[edit]

On November 23, 2015, Bethel-Thompson was signed to the 49ers' practice squad.[18]

Philadelphia Eagles[edit]

On February 18, 2016, Bethel-Thompson was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles. On May 17, 2016, Bethel-Thompson was released by Eagles. He was re-signed by the team on July 24, 2016.[19] On September 3, 2016, he was released by the Eagles.[20]

Winnipeg Blue Bombers[edit]

Bethel-Thompson was signed to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' practice roster on September 20, 2016.[21] He was released by the team on October 19, 2016.[22]

Bethel-Thompson before his first career CFL start on August 2, 2018.

Toronto Argonauts[edit]

In April 2017, Bethel-Thompson played with a startup developmental minor league, The Spring League. Players were scouted by numerous NFL and CFL teams during the practices and two games played, and Bethel-Thompson earned an invite to workout at a minicamp for the New York Jets.[23] He was not offered a contract following the Jets minicamp, and on May 23, 2017, Bethel-Thompson signed with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.[24] During the 2 game preseason, Bethel-Thompson started at quarterback in one game, and completed 5 passes out of 13 attempts, throwing for 78 yards, and rushing for 1 yard for a first down on a quarterback sneak. In an unusual use of a quarterback, he also played as a defensive back in the first preseason game, and on special teams in the second. Bethel-Thompson recorded 2 tackles and an interception on defense,[25] plus 2 special teams tackles on kickoffs.[26] Following the release of CFL veteran Drew Willy, Bethel-Thompson made the Argonauts' roster as the 4th quarterback.[27] It was an irregular decision given that the Argonauts elected to keep an additional quarterback on their practice roster, giving them a total of 5 quarterbacks, whereas most CFL teams keep only the required 3 quarterbacks as part of their active roster. On June 24, Bethel-Thompson was placed on the 6-game injured list, and received several extensions. Coming off the injured list after 13 weeks, Bethel-Thompson made his debut on September 23, backing up Argos starter, and fellow Sacramento State alumni Ricky Ray.[28] Bethel-Thompson entered the game during garbage time, and completed his only pass attempt for 8 yards in the 33–19 victory over the Montreal Alouettes. After going 2/2 for 10 yards during the regular season, Bethel-Thompson's Argonauts won the 105th Grey Cup over the Calgary Stampeders. Among the Calgary players activated for this CFL championship game was Ricky Stanzi, Bethel-Thompson's opposing quarterback from the Spring League.

Bethel-Thompson was named the Argos' starting quarterback in Week 8 of the 2018 season after Ricky Ray was out for the season with a neck injury and backup quarterback James Franklin was ineffective in his first four starts.[29] In his first CFL start Bethel-Thompson and the Argos overcame a 24-point deficit to defeat the Ottawa Redblacks 42–41, with Bethel-Thompson completing a 23-yard pass to Armanti Edwards for the game winning score with one second left in the game.[30] After beating the Lions the following week Bethel-Thompson would go on to start and lose the next six games, resulting in the Argos being eliminated from playoff contention. James Franklin was announced as the team's Week 18 starter.[31]

Bethel-Thompson began the 2019 season as the Argos' backup quarterback behind James Franklin. However, Bethel-Thompson was announced the starting quarterback after Franklin was placed on the six-game injured reserve list following the team's Week 3 loss.[32] Bethel-Thompson remained the Argos starting quarterback until Week 16 as the team fell to a record of 2–10: At which time the team announced James Franklin as the starting quarterback.[33] Nevertheless, Bethel-Thompson was promoted to starting quarterback again for the team's Week 18 match against the Redblacks after the team lost both matches with Franklin at the helm.[34] All four wins by the 2019 Argos came with Bethel-Thompson starting at quarterback, and by the end of the season, Bethel-Thompson's career year had produced a CFL best 26 touchdown passes.

During his first three years in the CFL, Bethel-Thompson had also been working towards his master's degree in education from UC Berkeley. The day before he defended his thesis, Bethel-Thompson signed an extension with Toronto.[35]

CFL statistics[edit]

  Passing   Rushing
Year Team GP GS Comp Att Pct Yards TD Int Rating Att Yards Avg Long TD
2017 TOR 6 0 2 2 100.0 10 0 0 87.5 0 0 0.0 0 0
2018 TOR 18 8 198 303 65.3 2,193 9 10 82.9 22 116 5.3 23 1
2019 TOR 18 13 335 493 67.9 4,024 26 13 105.4 26 160 6.2 20 1
CFL totals 42 20 535 798 67.0 6,227 35 23 93.1 48 262 6.1 23 2

Personal life[edit]

He is the grandson of the 1948 Olympic shot put champion Wilbur 'Moose' Thompson.[36] He is also of Scottish and Salvadoran descent through his grandmother.


  1. ^ Simmons, Rusty (August 31, 2005). ".F. SECTION AND NORTH BAY FOOTBALL PREVIEWS / Bal's big-name QB / Prep star has long moniker and considerable talent". Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  2. ^ CIF San Francisco. AAA/CIF San Francisco All-City 2005–2006 Archived December 14, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. (Retrieved September 3, 2012)
  3. ^ CIF San Francisco. AAA/CIF San Francisco All-City 2004–2005 Archived December 14, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. (Retrieved September 3, 2012)
  4. ^ Fitzgerald, Tom (September 10, 2010) "Sac State's Bethel-Thompson in a good place." San Francisco Chronicle. (Retrieved 9–3–12.)
  5. ^ "MCLEOD BETHEL-THOMPSON". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "49ers Sign Quarterback Bethel-Thompson". Archived from the original on January 7, 2012.
  8. ^ "QB Bethel-Thompson claimed off waivers by 49ers". Yahoo! Sports. October 9, 2013. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  9. ^ "QB Bethel-Thompson among 13 signed to reserve/future deals". January 22, 2014.
  10. ^ "49ers Waive Seven Players, Trim Roster to 75".
  11. ^ Caplan, Adam (August 31, 2014). "Bethel-Thompson fits #Patriots system well, drop-back QB. Was recently waived by the #49ers".
  12. ^ "Patriots Sign DE Cameron Henderson To Practice Squad, Release Quarterback". September 9, 2014.
  13. ^ Vikings-Waive-1-Sign-3-To-Practice-Squad, Retrieved October 14, 2014
  14. ^ "Dolphins add McLeod Bethel-Thompson as a fourth quarterback", October 15, 2014
  15. ^ Dolphins stick with the two-QB plan, cut McLeod Bethel-Thompson, September 6, 2015
  16. ^ Dolphins sign QB Logan Thomas, place RB Jay Ajayi on injured list, September 6, 2015
  17. ^ Perkins, Chris (September 9, 2015). "Dolphins' Branden Albert to start Sunday against Redskins". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
  18. ^ "49ers’ Kaepernick, Dorsey headed for surgery; QB Bethel-Thompson added to practice squad", November 23, 2015
  19. ^ Smith, Michael David (July 24, 2016). "Eagles re-signing QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson". Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  20. ^ McPherson, Chris (September 3, 2016). "Eagles Trim Roster to 53 Players".
  21. ^ M., Rhéanne (September 20, 2016). "BOMBERS ADD TO PRACTICE ROSTER". Archived from the original on September 20, 2016. Retrieved September 20, 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  22. ^ "Transactions". Archived from the original on November 3, 2016. Retrieved November 3, 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  23. ^ "Is Spring League an NFL springboard? It's at least a shot".
  24. ^ "Argos sign three ahead of rookie camp –". May 23, 2017.
  25. ^ "2017-06-08 Game Tracker – Montreal Alouettes vs. Toronto Argonauts (2363) –".
  26. ^ "2017-06-16 Game Tracker – Toronto Argonauts vs. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2369) –".
  27. ^ "Argos on-field leaders laud their new coach". June 18, 2017.
  28. ^ "New Argos DB Darby showing plenty of smarts". September 23, 2017.
  29. ^ "McLeod Bethel-Thompson facing familiar opponent in his first start as Argos quarterback | The Star". Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  30. ^ "2018-08-02 Game Tracker – Ottawa Redblacks vs. Toronto Argonauts (2493) –". Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  31. ^ "Argos' QB carousel continues as Franklin back as starter". Toronto Sun. October 9, 2018. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  32. ^ Press, The Canadian (July 3, 2019). "Toronto Argonauts QB James Franklin injured, McLeod Bethel-Thompson expected to start vs. BC Lions –". TSN. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  33. ^ Dunk, Justin. "Argos to start James Franklin at quarterback against Riders | 3DownNation". Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  34. ^ Press, The Canadian (October 11, 2019). "McLeod Bethel-Thompson back as Argonauts starter –". TSN. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
  35. ^
  36. ^ Chip Scoggins. (September 27, 2013). "A long-ago London connection for Vikings' Bethel-Thompson". Star Tribune. Retrieved February 5, 2014.

External links[edit]