Around the NFL

Earl Thomas wins Seahawks' punt returner job

The best player on the Seattle Seahawks' historically great defense is going to moonlight on special teams this season.

Coach Pete Carroll confirmed Monday that All-Pro safety Earl Thomas will indeed be the team's primary punt returner entering the season.

We suspected a month ago that Carroll was merely throwing Thomas a bone by allowing him to return a few kicks in preseason action. Instead, the Seahawks are holding firm to their competition mantra despite the injury risk to one of the most valuable players in the league.

Thomas has yet to return a regular-season punt in four years with the Seahawks. He returned four punts for 58 yards in his two-year college career at Texas.

As the rangiest safety in the NFL, Thomas certainly has the speed, quickness and moves to succeed in the return game. We just wonder if Carroll is taking an unnecessary risk by subjecting his defensive linchpin to high-risk injury situations.

The latest "Around The NFL Podcast" predicts our Super Bowl champions and the major winners of the regular-season awards.

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