Believe it or not, Earl Thomas and Marshawn Lynch weren't all that close through their first four seasons in Seattle.
The All-Pro free safety revealed as much when he met with the media before Wednesday's practice and preparation for the Seahawks' divisional playoff game against the Carolina Panthers this Saturday night at CenturyLink Field.
"The biggest surprise out of this year to me is our relationship - me and Marshawn's relationship," said Thomas. "I think since I've been here we've never really connected, but I just decided to go talk to him and see what type of guy he was.
"I realized, 'Man, this guy is just like me in a lot of ways' "
The response came after Thomas was asked if there was any meaning behind his and Lynch's intense sideline stare downs, [something you may have caught on T.V.](https://vine.co/v/OguB3invAIX "https://vine.co/v/OguB3invAIX
Ctrl Click to follow link") Thomas called the exchange a "mutual understanding."
"He's a dog," Thomas said of Lynch. "His whole demeanor. He's a man amongst boys out there."
Thomas recalled the moment earlier this season where he decided to get on Lynch's level. It came at practice, "where everything happens," said Thomas.
"It was just me listening to my inner voice," he said. "My inner voice is never wrong, so I did it."
That increased communication, or "mutual understanding," between Thomas and Lynch worked its way into the team's turnaround at midseason. Thomas noted it's a similar rapport he's developed with all of the team's elder statesmen who have "found their love again."
"It's just really a growing process," said Thomas. "The more and more you face adverse situations and you're on the same team and you're around the same people, we do a good job of not running away and we just grow.
"[There] may be some bitter moments, but at the same time we have a great responsibility to detach ourselves and understand the bigger picture. And we do a great job of that."