The Seahawks are practicing today at their workplace for this Super Bowl week, Arizona State University.
Pete Carroll is scheduled to talk to the media for the second consecutive day at the Arizona Grand Resort at 1:45 p.m. Seattle time, with the following six players talking after him: defensive end Cliff Avril, wide receiver Doug Baldwin, safety Kam Chancellor, center Max Unger plus linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright.
Those many here at the Super Bowl who don't talk regularly to Earl Thomas got a sampling of the All-Pro safety's intensity and unpredictability yesterday upon the Seahawks' arrival here in Phoenix.
First, Thomas likened the shoulder he separated in the NFC championship game and played through -- as he will in Sunday's game against New England -- to getting hit in the mouth by a ground ball as a kid.
“Since I was a kid, every time I got hurt I always came back in the game," Thomas said. "I remember I played third base on my all-star baseball team and there was a weird ground ball that hit me in the mouth. I had braces at the time. My lip got stuck to the braces and I had to go to the emergency room.
"My dad said, ‘Do you want to go back and play?’ I was like, ‘Of course!’ This is me. I love competing."
So, yes, he will play on Sunday -- just as he has in every one of Seattle's 89 games since he entered the NFL as the 14th-overall pick in the 2010 draft.
"I am just glad we are reliving our dreams," he said of becoming the first team since the 2003-04 Patriots to make it back to the Super Bowl the season after winning it. "It feels like a movie.”
Thomas missed the first two practices anyone could remember last week. And he did not like it.
“I practiced Friday. I was trying to get over it in my head. That is a lot to deal with," he said -- never mind it was two light practices still 11 and 10 days before the Super Bowl. "It is my first major injury in a way, so mentally I was pissed.
"But I got the big picture. My teammates needed me. I am going to do whatever I need to do for them.”
One concession he did make to the shoulder injury: "I have an opportunity to really trust my teammates. This is the first game I am going to have to trust them because of my injury. I really, really need to trust my teammates. And that is what I am banking on – my teammates doing what they need to do and I need to come through myself.”
I take that to mean Thomas, who is usually a free safety in the truest sense of the word (like an outfield rover in softball, only meaner and harder-hitting), will perhaps not throwing himself into every single tackle. Rather, he may pick his spots for hits rather than whack every single thing moving.
"With me with this shoulder, I definitely have to have a tackling plan," he said.
Then he added: "Really and truly, if my mental game is right my body just mirrors perfection in that aspect."
Many of the writers gathered around him looked at each other with puzzled expressions on that one.
Thomas is likely to be one of a rotating band of Seahawks defenders combating New England tight end extraordinaire Rob Gronkowski in what is a key -- maybe the key -- matchup for Seattle's top-ranked defense. Strong safety Kam Chancellor will be bringing the physicality and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner the speed as the Seahawks cover the hulking, unanimous All-Pro.
"You can't reproduce what Kam brings to this team," Thomas said.
Someone asked how "limited" Thomas was going to be Sunday.
"When I come alive nothing is limited," he said, vintage-Thomas style. "I can still play fearless and throw my body around and whatever happens, happens.”
Somehow, I believed him when he said upon being asked his throughout on the Patriots' deflated-balls firestorm that even CNN has been covering with live break-ins: “I don’t really hear too much about what goes on the media. I am in my own little world. I don’t watch TV too much.”
By the way, which hurt more, his braces stuck to his lip as a kid or the shoulder separation?
"Both of them," he said. "You can’t really feel it because you are pumping inside and you just love everything that comes with sports.
"The injuries, you learn from them. When I get older in my career, I will learn how to play with more focus. I can’t do what I want to do as far as creativity-wise. All of this is a learning lesson for me.”