Over the last few days in Seattle, the hype for safety Earl Thomas has reached a new high. While head coach Pete Carroll can be counted on to say something positive about any of his players at any moment, it was the slightly more measured defensive coordinator Kris Richard who put it into perspective Tuesday.
Remember, just a few months ago Thomas was mentioning retirement after breaking his leg against the Panthers in early December. At the time, he tweeted: "This game has been so good to me no regrets. A lot is running through my mind including retirement thanks for all the prayers."
This was a moment of panic for the Seahawks, who count on Thomas and fellow safety Kam Chancellor to keep the Legion of Boom lined up and in check. Both have been the bedrock of this once-in-a-generation defense and losing one, as we've seen with Thomas' injury and Chancellor's holdout, often leads to dips in performance.
Getting Thomas back this summer both mentally and physically refreshed is cause for optimism. For all their dominance over the past few years, Seattle's defense has seemed less sympatico than in the past. Now, linebacker Bobby Wagner is telling reporters that Thomas is better than he was before he broke his leg last winter. While that is a trope synonymous with preseason football, imagine if it's even partially true. That's enough to make Carroll -- or any of Seattle's coaches -- happy.