It looks like the Seahawks and head coach Pete Carroll were serious when All-Pro safety Earl Thomas was mentioned as a top candidate to take over punt returning duties after the departure of Golden Tate during free agency. In Friday’s preseason game against the Chicago Bears, Thomas ripped off a 59-yard return before being tackled.
Thomas is listed as the top returner on the Seahawks’ unofficial depth chart, and only cornerback Phillip Adams and receiver Bryan Walters have returned punts so far in the preseason.
Thomas has earned a reputation as one of the more solid safeties in the league, and he was rewarded this past offseason with a four-year contract extension worth a reported $40 million, with $27.725 million guaranteed. But, returning punts seems a very risky way for the Seahawks to create a return on that investment. Oakland Raiders fans from a generation ago can attest to that, after seeing receiver Tim Brown’s second season end with a knee injury.
The Seahawks open defense of their Super Bowl championship Thursday, September 4, hosting the Green Bay Packers.
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