For the second time in a week, Earl Thomas wants you to know he’s running on a treadmill -- all the way back to the Seahawks.
It’s been three months and 10 days since the three-time All-Pro free safety broke his tibia colliding with teammate Kam Chancellor while trying to intercept a pass against Carolina. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was optimistic two weeks ago that Thomas will return to the lineup for the 2017 opener in September.
Thomas, obviously, is convinced he will.
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All this is way past what Thomas was thinking and expressing minutes after his injury Dec. 4. Seattle’s 2010 first-round draft choice posted on his Twitter account that night, still during the game in which he got hurt: “This game has been so good to me no regrets.. A lot is running through my mind including retirement thanks for all the prayers.”
The Seahawks have since come to regard that as an emotional response from a star feeling his football career sidetracked by a major injury for the first time.
“Yeah, it was a big shock, you know. It was a big shock to him. He’d never been injured before, like that,” Carroll said Thursday. “He’s feeling very competitive about it and he’s going for it. His mentality is strong. And he’s looking forward to getting right.”
In addition to Thomas updating us on his road back and the Seahawks signing free-agent running back Eddie Lacy to a one-year contract that guarantees the former Green Bay Packer $3 million, Seattle re-signed reserve defensive back and special-teams ace Neiko Thorpe.
Seattle signed the 6-foot-2, 198-pound Thorpe in mid-September, after it released cornerback Tharold Simon. Thorpe’s second daughter, Nora, was born that same day.
Thorpe turned 27 last month. Hw played in all 15 regular-season games and both playoff ones he was on the Seahawks’ roster, on special teams. Carroll raved about Thorpe’s speed and tackling as the gunner running down to cover punts, in particular. In five of those games he also played as a backup cornerback. In a December game at Green Bay Thorpe was the sixth defensive back in a rare Seahawks “dime” defense against quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
He was an undrafted free agent out of Auburn in 2012, signed by the Kansas City Chiefs. He bounced that year between the Chiefs’ practice squad and active roster. In 2013, he was in the Canadian Football League with the Toronto Argonauts. The following year he became a primary special-team player in 14 games for the Oakland Raiders. He made two starts at cornerback for the Raiders in 2015. Oakland re-signed Thorpe to a second-round tender offer in April 2016, which would have paid him nearly $2.6 million. But Thorpe was beaten out by Dexter McDonald for the final cornerback spot. Oakland released him among the final round of cuts last September. He signed with Indianapolis, but the Colts released him within a week.
Seattle called him soon after that.
Thanks to his work in the kicking game, the Seahawks called back again on Tuesday.
“Special teams opened the door for me to be in this league,” Thorpe said. “Anybody who asks me who I am, I tell them I am a DB who plays on special teams.”