Wide receiver Devin Thomas, who signed a one-year deal with the Bears in the offseason, abruptly called it quits. | Nam Y. Huh~AP
Updated: September 7, 2012 6:17AM
BOURBONNAIS — Bears coach Lovie Smith was surprised Sunday to learn that wide receiver Devin Thomas decided to retire.
“But you don’t want a guy out here if he’s not totally into football and doesn’t have a passion to play it,” Smith said. “So it’s not like I try to talk guys out of it when they’ve made up their minds.”
Thomas, who signed a one-year deal in the offseason, announced his retirement on his Twitter account.
“God has blessed me [with] achieving a childhood dream,” Thomas wrote on Twitter. “I want to give back to my hometown and coach/ mentor kids so they can reach their own.”
A 2008 second-round pick of the Washington Redskins out of Michigan State, Thomas posted modest numbers in his career: 43 catches for 482 yards and three touchdowns. Last season, as part of the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, Thomas had three catches for 37 yards.
More important, though, Thomas had two fumble recoveries on special teams against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC title game.
“I just felt it was a good time to let the game go,” Thomas told the New York Daily News. “I think this is the perfect time.”
Thomas said winning a Super Bowl was his goal all along.
“I accomplished my childhood dream,” he told the Daily News. “I couldn’t care less about personal goals as far as Pro Bowls and receiving yards.”
Thomas said he’s focusing on his upcoming wedding and his 4-year-old son, Devin Jr.
There was no assurance that he’d make the Bears, given the competition at the bottom of the depth chart behind Brandon Marshall, rookie Alshon Jeffery, Earl Bennett and Devin Hester. Eric Weems also was signed, although primarily as a special-teamer, and Dane Sanzenbacher and undrafted rookie Brittan Golden also have had strong camps.
Thomas signed a $700,000 contract, the veteran minimum for his experience.
There’s no guarantee the Bears will keep six receivers. That final spot could go to another position such as running back, where Armando Allen has had a strong camp.