Just a day after newly acquired Bears wide receiver Devin Thomas retired from the NFL, the Bears reportedly are bringing back Rashied Davis in his place.
Much like Thomas was expected to do, Davis will make his contribution largely on special teams, where he thrived with the Bears in 2009 and 2010 after failing in his role as a featured wide receiver in 2008.
His highlight in the 2010 season came in week 16 against the New York Jets, when he successfully defended a Jets fake punt, changing the course of the game and leading to a Bears victory.
He also had a few highlights as a receiver too, catching a huge third down pass in overtime in the 2006 Divisional Playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks and making a sideline endzone catch on a pass from Kyle Orton with 11 seconds left to take the lead in a 2008 game against the Atlanta Falcons (a game the Bears ended up losing).
It’s a move that a large part of the Bears roster appears to love, as they know how much pride Davis brought to the locker room with his reputation of being a “glue guy.” The Bears are glad to make this move, as replacing Davis last season with Sam Hurd obviously did not pan out the way the Bears would have liked.
However, this move also closes a very brief window of hope that Dane Sanzenbacher and undrafted rookie wide receiver Brittan Golden had of making the roster.
The Bears are likely only going to carry six wide receivers, with those being Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Earl Bennett, Devin Hester, Eric Weems and presumably Davis. So, barring any injuries, it looks like the position battle between Sanzenbacher and Golden for one of the final roster spots is all but over before it even really began.
Two other guys who figured to battle for that spot are running backs Armando Allen and Lorenzo Booker, as the Bears could have elected to go with four running backs instead of six wide receivers. However, those two guys may still have a chance, as reports have pointed out that Allen and Booker are both having impressive camps and could give Kahlil Bell a run for his money as the team’s third running back.
Bell would have been a lock to make the squad without the Davis move due to his prowess on special teams, but with Davis now in the fold, Allen and Booker could potentially jump Bell as the duties on special teams as the third running back figure to be lessened some.