While Thomas admits to now accepting a backup role, his name surfaced in trade rumors. Before Chicago sent Marty Booker to Miami for DE Adewale Ogunleye, the speculation was that Thomas would be involved in any deal with the Dolphins
Although the 6-foot-2, 225-pounder missed the entire preseason because of an abdominal strain, GM Jerry Angelo has fielded calls about Thomas' services.
Monday the four-year veteran returned to practice for the first time since July 31st.
Thomas is expected to play Sunday, but what kind of shape he'll be in after missing more than a month of practice is another question.
``I've been playing football for a long time. I've been out for a while but I think I can go out and play and help this team win," Thomas said.
As a two-time 1,000-yard rusher Thomas should be among the better backups in the league. However heading into a free agency it isn't the ideal situation.
``Go out there when it's time for your number to be called, go out and play," Thomas said. "I'm going out and playing like I'm a starter."
In the preseason the Bears running game didn't seem to miss Thomas. Jones averaged 6.5 yards per carry, while Adrian Peterson led the team in rushing with 214 yards and averaged 4.6 yards per attempt. If that trend continues when the season starts Thomas could be deemed expendable.
Robinson played for Dave Wannstedt in 1998, which was his last year as head coach of the Bears.
No Time for Growing Pains: The defensive line is much younger without Bryan Robinson, meaning Alex Brown is suddenly is a veteran in just his third year.
"Now myself, (Adewale Ogunleye) O-Gun, (Alfonso) Boone we're going to have to pick it up because I don't think (anybody else) has any experience as far as the d-line goes," Brown said.
Ian Scott wasn't sure if would survive the final roster cut down, but was prepared for the worst.
"It was a tough time," Scott said. "You're not real sure what's going to happen. I had my phone on, just waiting to hear."
As a rookie Scott was active in seven games and made just three tackles. Without Robinson, Scott will be expected to be the team's run stuffer.
Rookie Tommie Harris is expected to start along side Alfonso Boone, who is in his fourth year in the league. With Scott and second-round pick Terry Johnson as the backups the Bears have a young group of defensive tackles.
"We're just going to have to grow up in a hurry," Scott said.
In the short amount of time Robinson spent with Johnson and Harris he served as a mentor for the pair of rookies, but his release provided a final lesson about life in the NFL.
"During training camp he taught us a lot about being professionals and how to practice and how to play," Johnson said. "It was a surprise for me, but I guess I learn about this business every day."
Welcome Back: The Bears added seven players to their eight-man practice squad: OL Bryan Anderson, LB Jeremy Cain, DE Quinn Dorsey, CB Alfonso Marshall, DE Shurron Pierson, TE Mike Pinkard and DE Cliff Washburn.
Each member of the practice squad spent time with the Bears in training camp. There is still one remaining spot open.