49ers lose practice-squad standout

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- One of the San Francisco 49ers' most promising practice squad players is leaving the organization.

A source close to the situation confirmed safety Michael Thomas has signed with the Miami Dolphins' 53-man roster. He has been on the 49ers' practice squad since the beginning of last season.

Thomas played for 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio at Stanford. The 49ers liked Thomas a lot and he was popular with his teammates, but they had no room for him on the 53-man roster.

As a show of faith, they gave him a big raise earlier in the season. But when an opportunity to play on a 53-man roster came up, Thomas felt compelled to take it. The 49ers wanted to keep him, but understood Miami is giving him a chance that they couldn't at the time.

San Francisco now has an opening on its eight-player practice squad. Alex Debniak, who is on injured reserve, is now the only player in the program who has ties with Harbaugh from Stanford.