Bears

Thomas' departure creates roster opening at WR

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Thomas' departure creates roster opening at WR

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- The Bears crowded situation at wide receiver took an unexpected turn Sunday when Devin Thomas, signed this offseason and expected to be a factor on special teams, announced via Twitter that he was retiring.

I have decided to retire from the NFL, Thomas tweeted on @IamDevinThomas.

The 25-year-old indicated he is taking his life in a different direction, subsequently tweeting, "God has blessed me with achieving a childhood dream. I want to give back to my hometown and coachmentor kids so they can reach their own. 1LUV.

Thomas had struggled at times with drops and was sliding toward a roster bubble with undrafted free agent Brittan Golden from West Texas A&M and Dane Sanzenbacher, already in a battle to retain his roster spot. Sanzenbacher has been getting time as a punt returner and contributed 27 catches last season, while Golden has flashed repeatedly in drills and full-team sessions.

The Bears are expected to keep six wide receivers on this years roster, with the top five all but assured at this point: Earl Bennett, Devin Hester, Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall and Eric Weems.

Thomas, a second-round draft choice of the Washington Redskins in 2008, signed a one-year deal for 700,000 last March 29. He spent 2011 with the New York Giants and recovered two crucial fumbles in the Giants NFC Championship win over the San Francisco 49ers.

NFC North standings: Bears’ division lead on life support after loss to Dolphins

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USA TODAY

NFC North standings: Bears’ division lead on life support after loss to Dolphins

A tie is all that separates the Bears from the rest of the NFC North division. Chicago’s Week 6 loss to the Miami Dolphins dropped the team to 3-2, which just barely leaves them in first place.

Because the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings tied in Week 2, they sit just behind the Bears at 3-2-1 in the division. The Week 5 bye week also kept Chicago a little bit ahead, but they’re only a game away from dropping down to third.

They still control their own destiny, but Matt Nagy will need an upset win over the New England Patriots on Sunday to maintain their leading position. The Packers are on a bye week, so they would assume first place if the Bears lose.

The Vikings take on the New York Jets for a chance to take sole possession of the NFC North crown, but Chicago is guaranteed to stay ahead of the Detroit Lions, who also have a bye week.

These early season losses are tough on a Bears team trying to grow a division lead before they take on their NFC North foes midseason. The bigger cushion they can build now, the more wiggle room they’ll have when they face the Lions, Vikings and Lions back-to-back-to-back in November.

White Sox Talk Podcast: What it would take for the White Sox to sign Manny Machado

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: What it would take for the White Sox to sign Manny Machado

It might be a long shot for the White Sox to sign free agent Manny Machado, but here on the White Sox Talk Podcast, we like dark horses. Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey and Vinnie Duber discuss what it would take to bring Machado to the South Side. Plus, is he "the" guy the White Sox are targeting this offseason? Will the Rockies listen to trade offers for Nolan Arenado a year before he reaches free agency? Plus, Chuck talks about a cost-controlled, All-Star on a rebuilding team that could be an answer at third base.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: