Thomas with the Seattle Seahawks in 2014
|No. 29 – Seattle Seahawks|
May 7, 1989 |
|Height:||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Weight:||202 lb (92 kg)|
|High school:||Orange (TX) West Orange-Stark|
|NFL Draft:||2010 / Round: 1 / Pick: 14|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of 2017|
Earl Thomas III (born May 7, 1989) is an American football free safety for the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Seahawks in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft and would later assist with the team's first Super Bowl victory in Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos. He played college football at Texas and received consensus All-American honors.
Thomas attended West Orange-Stark High School in Orange, Texas, where he played for the West Orange-Stark Mustangs high school football team. While there, he was an all-state selection and three-year starter at defensive back, running back and wide receiver. He recorded 112 career tackles with 11 interceptions, two kickoff return touchdowns and two punt return touchdowns, while also having 1,850 rushing yards and 2,140 receiving yards in his career.
Also a standout athlete, Thomas was on the school's track & field team, where he competed as a sprinter and jumper, and was a member of the 4 × 200 meters relay team that reached the state finals, at 1:27.92. He finished second in the long jump at the 2007 Region 3-3A Meet, with a personal-best mark of 7.14 meters.
Thomas attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he played for coach Mack Brown's Texas Longhorns football team from 2007 to 2009. After redshirting his first year at Texas, Thomas started all 13 games at strong safety for the Longhorns in 2008, and ranked second on the team with 63 combined tackles and 17 pass breakups, the most ever by a Longhorn freshman. He also had two interceptions, four forced fumbles, and a blocked kick. Thomas subsequently earned multiple All-Freshman honors, as he was named to FWAA′s Freshman All-America team, Sporting News′ Freshman All-American team, College Football News′ All-Freshman first team, and Rivals.com′s Freshman All-America team.
As a redshirt sophomore in 2009, Thomas intercepted eight passes, returning two of them for touchdowns. The Longhorns were undefeated in the regular season and Thomas played in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game where they lost to Alabama. Thomas chose to forgo his final two seasons of eligibility at Texas to declare for the 2010 NFL Draft where he was the third defensive back taken after Eric Berry and Joe Haden.
|Ht||Wt||Arm length||Hand size||40-yard dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert jump||Broad||BP|
|5 ft 10 1⁄4 in
|31 1⁄4 in
|9 3⁄8 in
|4.49 s||1.62 s||2.65 s||N/A s||N/A s||32 in
|All values from NFL combine|
Thomas was chosen by the Seattle Seahawks with the fourteenth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. At age 20, he was one of the youngest players eligible for the draft. Mike Mayock, the longtime draft analyst for NFL Network, refers Thomas as having the best chance of resembling Ed Reed in the 2010 NFL Draft class. On July 31, 2010, Thomas agreed to a five-year, $21.1 million contract with the Seahawks, receiving $12.31 million in guarantees.
On September 26, 2010, in a Week 3 game against the San Diego Chargers, Thomas intercepted two passes by Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, one of which sealed a 27–20 victory for the Seattle Seahawks. Thomas finished the season with 76 tackles, one forced fumble and five interceptions that helped the Seahawks into the playoffs.
In the 2011 regular season, Thomas was a key player on the Seahawks defense. The Seahawks finished the year with the second-fewest 20-yard pass plays surrendered, largely thanks to Thomas playing single high safety, where he defends the deep portion of the field. He finished the season with 98 tackles and 2 interceptions. His play earned him a Pro Bowl nomination and second-team All-Pro selection. He was also ranked No. 66 in the 2012 NFL Top 100.
In the 2012 season, during Week 3 in the pre-season in an away game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City, Thomas intercepted a Matt Cassel pass and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown as the Seahawks won the game 44-14. Thomas finished the season with 66 tackles and three interceptions. On January 2, He was selected to the 2013 All-Pro Team.
In the 2013 season, the Seahawks won 13 games that tied the team record. Thomas finished the season with 105 tackles and 5 interceptions. The Seahawks reached Super Bowl XLVIII where they faced off against the Denver Broncos and their record-breaking offense. Seattle defeated Denver and held their record-breaking offense to 8 points. The score was 43-8 and Thomas had 7 tackles.
On April 28, 2014, Thomas agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $40 million with $27.725 guaranteed, making him the second-highest paid safety in the NFL behind All-Pro safety Eric Berry.
On September 1, 2014, head coach Pete Carroll announced that Thomas would be the primary punt returner for the Seahawks entering the 2014 season. Thomas was then removed from the punt returner position in favor of Bryan Walters. Thomas responded saying they removed him from the position because of a risk of injury, and allow him to focus "on defense".
Thomas would again make the All-Pro team and the Pro Bowl in 2014, recording 97 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, forcing 3 fumbles, 1 interception and 6 passes defended in 16 games. The Seahawks had the #1 defense in the NFL in fewest points allowed for the third straight season, Thomas starting in every game over those three seasons. Thomas would have 11 tackles, 2 passes defended, and a forced fumble in the NFC divisional round against the Carolina Panthers, then record 5 tackles in the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers. Thomas suffered a dislocated shoulder in the second quarter of the game, but would return to the game in the second half. He helped the Seahawks win 28-22 to advance to the Super Bowl for the second straight season. In Super Bowl XLIX, Thomas recorded 9 tackles in a 28–24 loss to the New England Patriots.
Due to injuries sustained in the postseason, Thomas missed training camp and the entire preseason in 2015. He was able to make it back for the season opener despite this, registering nine total tackles and forcing a fumble. He would record interceptions in back-to-back games in mid-October, and would record four passes defended on October 18 against the Carolina Panthers, a career-high.
In Week 10 against the Arizona Cardinals, Thomas caught another interception, this one in the endzone. The Seahawks would ultimately lose 39-32. He would go on to record interceptions against the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals in the last month of the season, equaling his single season high with 5 interceptions on the year. He was named to the Sporting News All-Pro first team. He was ranked 66th on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016.
During Week 8 against the New Orleans Saints, Thomas recovered a fumble and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown. Afterwards, Thomas hugged a referee, the side judge Alex Kemp, and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for doing it. In Week 12, he missed the first game of his career with a hamstring injury suffered the previous week. In a Week 13 game against the Carolina Panthers, he suffered a broken tibia while breaking up a pass and collided with teammate Kam Chancellor in the second quarter effectively ending his season. He tweeted shortly after the injury that he was considering retirement. He was placed on injured reserve on December 6, 2016, officially ending his season. Before being placed on IR, Thomas was leading all safeties in Pro Bowl votes making it likely he would have gone to his sixth straight. Despite the injury, Thomas was still ranked 30th by his peers on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017.
In Week 5, Thomas piled up seven tackles, one interception and a forced fumble at the goal line on Todd Gurley in a 16-10 win over the Rams, earning him NFC Defensive Player of the Week. In Week 8, Thomas recorded a 78-yard interception return for a touchdown, the second 'pick-six' of his career. Earl would also add five tackles in the 41–38 victory, although he suffered a hamstring injury late in the fourth quarter.  On December 19, 2017, Thomas was named to his sixth Pro Bowl.
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