Thomas announced via Twitter Sunday that he was retiring from football and the Bears confirmed the news a little bit later. Thomas explained to his followers why he was choosing to walk away from the game.
God has blessed me w achieving a childhood dream. I want to give back to my hometown and coach/mentor kids so they can reach their own. 1LUV
— Devin Thomas (@IamDevinThomas) August 5, 2012
Thomas expanded on that in comments to the New York Daily News, where he made it clear that his passion for the game was no longer where it needed to be.
“I mean, you know, football, it’s just a game,” Thomas said. “I enjoyed playing it for awhile. I had my greatest moments obviously with the Giants. I felt my spirit going other ways. I just felt it was a good time to let the game go. I think this is the perfect time.”
Thomas was originally a second-round pick of the Redskins in 2008, but never came close to living up to that draft status in Washington. He caught 40 passes in parts of three seasons before getting released in 2010. He went on to play one game for the Panthers before moving to the Giants, where he carved out a niche on special teams. That led to his finest NFL moment when Thomas recovered both of the fumbles by 49ers punt returner Kyle Williams in the NFC Championship Game to set up Giants scores and send the team to the Super Bowl.
The Bears were hoping Thomas would play a similar role for them this season, but his decision means that it won’t happen. It also means that there’s an opportunity for other members of the Bears to grab the team’s attention and a spot on the roster without having to beat out Thomas.