Despite tumultuous final season, Earl Thomas sees himself 'retiring as a Seahawk'

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There was plenty of acrimony between Earl Thomas and the Seattle Seahawks as the all-pro safety’s nine seasons with the franchise came to an end last year.

Thomas was Seattle’s first-round selection in 2010 and helped the franchise win a Super Bowl as one of the top defensive backs in football. But any hard feelings that developed when the team opted not to give Thomas a new contract seem to have faded away.

In an interview on the Rich Eisen Show on Wednesday, Thomas, now a member of the Baltimore Ravens, said he is moving forward with no hard feelings toward the Seattle brass.

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"My feelings towards the organization at the time, I was very heated, very frustrated," he told Eisen. "But when you look at the blessing that the Ravens organization has believed in me and gave me this megadeal, I put all the stuff behind me and start to focus immediately on my new teammates and the Ravens organization.

“But obviously, everything that we've been through, everything I gave to that team, I felt kind of disrespected. But I know it's a business, I know they've got other guys they need to pay like [Russell Wilson], Frank Clark, Bobby [Wagner], and they're very deserving as well."

Things really soured between Thomas and the organization before the 2018 season. In an effort to get a new deal, Thomas held out all offseason before reporting to the team before Week 1. Thomas continued to be outspoken about his contract situation and then broke his leg in Week 4. As he was carted off the field with his leg in a cast, he flipped off the Seattle sideline.

In spite of all that, Thomas said he hopes to see his No. 29 jersey retired by the Seahawks.

"I envision myself retiring as a Seahawk," Thomas said when asked about that possibility. "I would never burn a bridge there. I still love my teammates. I definitely see myself signing maybe a one-day deal, and hopefully they'll hang my jersey in the rafters."

Thomas: Seahawks never got over Super Bowl loss

The Seahawks crushed the Denver Broncos to win Super Bowl XLVIII and were on the verge of a second straight Super Bowl the following year against the New England Patriots, but came up just short.

You know the story. Trailing 28-24 with 26 seconds to play, the Seahawks called a passing play on second and goal from the 1-yard line instead of handing the ball to Marshawn Lynch. Wilson was intercepted by Malcolm Butler, and New England somehow pulled out a win.

As other members of that team have said, Thomas acknowledged that the feelings from that loss lingered.

“We never really got back on the same page,” Thomas said. “We still played some great football, but we didn’t play to our best ability. We just weren’t connected the right way. When you’re trying to win championships, you need everybody on the same page. We just didn’t get there.”

After nine seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, Earl Thomas signed an offseason deal with the Baltimore Ravens. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
After nine seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, Earl Thomas signed an offseason deal with the Baltimore Ravens. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Thomas was very close to signing with the Chiefs

Before striking a deal with the Ravens, Thomas had his sights set on Kansas City. Thomas told Eisen that he verbally agreed to a one-year deal with the Chiefs in the range of $12 million until he got the offer from Baltimore — four years, $55 million — the following day.

Thomas said he was worried about coming off as disrespectful to the Chiefs for going back on his word, but was relieved to find out that the Chiefs understood his decision to take the more lucrative deal.

Now Thomas will move forward with a new team in a new city. It’s going to be an adjustment. He admitted that, but said going through his press conference in Baltimore got some of his “first-time jitters” out of the way.

And after his holdout last year in Seattle, Thomas said he will be in Baltimore for the first day of offseason workouts next Monday.

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