Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff: 14 Days with Deonte Thompson

Chicago Bears, Deonte Thompson
Chicago Bears, Deonte Thompson / Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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Chicago Bears, Deonte Thompson
Chicago Bears, Deonte Thompson / Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Deonte Thompson wins National Championship before joining Chicago Bears

Regarded as a top three wide receiver of his class, Thompson elected to stay close to home and accepted an offer to attend the University of Florida. In his first season as a Gator, Thompson redshirted and saw no action. The team would post a 13-1 record en route to winning the National Championship. But the following season, Thompson would join the team and be a big factor on both offense and special teams.

In 2008, Thompson recorded 269 yards and three touchdowns while playing in every game on offense and punt block. In a run-heavy, Tim Tebow-led Gators offense, Thompson's receiving total ranked fourth on the team behind three fellow future NFL players Louis Murphy, Percy Harvin, and Aaron Hernandez.

Nonetheless, Thompson's efforts helped the team reach the BCS National Championship, where they faced off against Oklahoma. The team won a close game, capping off one of the best collegiate seasons of the 21st century.

Over his remaining years at Florida, the team would never quite be able to match their on-field success, although they did post a 13-1 record again in 2009. Nonetheless, Thompson became a leader on the offensive side of the ball as an upperclassman.

His best individual season came in 2010, where he posted 570 yards, the highest total of his career. It would also end up being head coach Urban Meyers's final season, as he left following the team's Outback Bowl victory.

By the end of the 2011 season, Thompson had racked up nearly 1,500 yards throughout his Florida career. However, in the ensuing 2012 NFL Draft, Thompson did not see his name called. Rather, Thompson had to enter the professional ranks as an undrafted free agent and began his journey with the Baltimore Ravens.

In Baltimore, Thompson was utilized mainly on special teams, occasionally serving as the team's kick returner. In two seasons, he was able to find playing time on offense in 13 total games, where he accumulated just shy of 150 total yards. His best game with the Ravens came in his second season, where he recorded 50 yards on four receptions.

After a two-year stint in Baltimore, Thompson signed with the Buffalo Bills for the 2014 season but was injured throughout the year and waived early in the season.