Earl Thomas: 'Hawks would've been 'different' with me

Earl Thomas continues to rehab from a devastating leg injury that had the Seattle Seahawks' safety briefly contemplating retirement.

Thomas' latest workout update posted on Monday belongs in a Sylvester Stallone movie:

While beautifully composed, the video in and of itself doesn't give us much of a benchmark for his return to the field, but it is a positive sign and keeps with the notion coach Pete Carroll posited last month that Thomas is "way ahead of schedule."

Thomas told Gee Scott of KIRO-AM in Seattle that his drive during rehab stems from a desire to return and prove his injury is what derailed Seattle from making another Super Bowl run.

"My drive comes from the strides I made last year and my understanding of how our defense works and how big of an impact I have on the defense," Thomas said. "I know if I train hard and commit myself, I'll give myself a chance to be dominant again and also us a great chance to win a championship. I truly believe things would've turned out differently if I would've never went down last year."

The stats certainly suggest that offenses took advantage of Thomas' absence patrolling the middle.

During the regular season, with Thomas on the field for 391 dropbacks, quarterbacks earned a 61.6 passer rating on 42 attempts of at least 20 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions, per Pro Football Focus, via the Seattle Times. In 202 dropbacks Thomas missed, those numbers jumped to a 112 passer rating, with four TDs and one interception on 32 attempts of 20-plus yards.

In the Seahawks' playoff loss, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan continually picked on a banged-up secondary.

Losing the rangy Thomas wasn't the only problem with the 2016 Seattle Seahawks. A catastrophic offensive line and inconsistent run game were fundamental flaws.

Thomas' return, along with potentially (finally) adding a consistent second-fiddle opposite Richard Sherman, should ensure Seattle remains an elite defense and climbs back atop the ranks in 2017.

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