Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Thomas announced via Twitter today that he is retiring from football. His message was simple, "I have decided to retire from the NFL." So what prompted this seemingly impromptu retirement, and how will it affect the team's offense?
Thomas told reporters that he didn't "have the enthusiasm to play the game anymore." As a fan, I can respect that. It is usually pretty clear when a player's heart is in the game and when they are just in it for the paycheck. His timing, however, is what bothers me. The Bears acquired him this past March to a one-year contract for a salary of $700,000. It is a little hard to believe that he was enthusiastic just four months ago, and suddenly changed his mind. Thomas may have wasted the time of a lot of people working to create a stellar offense for the upcoming season.
Of course, it isn't like the Bears really need Thomas. They have plenty of depth on their roster when it comes to receivers. With Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, Eric Weems, and Dane Sanzenbacher, the Bears certainly aren't hurting for talent. If Johnny Knox comes back from his injury, his name can be added to the list soon. Thomas may have realized that leaving now when the team is reasonably healthy and the roster is full might be the most graceful way to exit the team.
At best, Devin Thomas would have been the team's sixth receiver, and possibly a kick returner behind Hester and Weems. He wasn't going to see a lot of the field. It may be that the risk of injury wasn't worth the limited playing time. Thomas indicated that he was concerned about possibly getting hurt, saying, "My body's been through some damage. I want to walk away from the game feeling like a champion and feeling healthy rather than walking away mentally hurt or physically hurt."
As for what Devin Thomas might do now that his career in football has come to an end, he hinted on Twitter that he wants to help kids reach their dreams since he has fulfilled his own.
Devin Thomas' retirement isn't going to change the dynamics of the offense enough for any of us to worry. At the end of the day, losing a player whose heart was no longer in the game was the best thing that could happen. I would rather see him retire now instead of after the start of the season when his lack of commitment could have cost us a game.
Whitney Levon is a Chicago native whose dedication to the Bears goes back to her first football memory; the Bears' 1985 Super Bowl victory. She has been covering the Chicago Bears and other Chicago teams since 2010. You can follow her on Twitter @sweetchitown.