Earl Thomas III is back.
Well, at 80 percent, by his assessment. But after seeing ET III suffering a broken tibia in December, the Seattle Seahawks are glad to have No. 29 back where he belongs in the Legion of Boom.
“I think I’m about 80 percent, but I think my 80 percent is faster than most guys,” Earl said. “Just trying to keep my mental game sharp, help the young guys as much as possible. I’m just glad to be back out here with the guys. I’ll know when I’m 100 percent. I’ll feel it.”
ET was having one of his best professional seasons, setting a career-high with 10 passes defended. He tallied two interceptions, and he nearly had a third on the play that dealt him the scariest injury of his career—one that even shook the unshakeable Earl.
“I was having one of the best seasons of my career, I had the pick in my hand—right there. Then it was just gone,” ET recalled. “My legs are my foundation. I’ve had a shoulder injury but nothing with my speed. I wasn’t getting surgery. When they said it was a 50 percent chance that it’d heal naturally, I said I’d take the chance. I’ve still got my explosion. My mental game is sharp.”
Earl admitted that life at 80 percent brings its ups and downs, and those peaks and valleys have defined his life since the injury. After being sidelined for the season, Earl tweeted that he was contemplating retirement. But after some soul searching (and after seeing his buddy and fellow All-Pro safety Eric Berry net a huge contract), he decided that his time in the NFL wasn’t over.
“I just felt like it wasn’t time. There were a lot of things that made me come back,” Earl said. “I’ll be ready for the first game.”
Check the video above for Earl’s full testimony and keep it here for more updates out of the Seahawks’ camp leading up to ET III’s return. The Hawks kick off the regular season on Sept. 10 against the Green Bay Packers.