Earl Thomas was activated from the Seahawks' physically unable to perform list nearly two weeks ago, but Tuesday's practice - the 14th of training camp - marked the first on-field action for Thomas since Super Bowl XLIX.
Thomas had surgery this offseason to repair damage done to his shoulder in this past January's NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers. He hasn't practiced in pads since, but once off PUP he began to participate in the team's walk-through sessions during each night of training camp as he continued the rehab process. That all changed today, as Thomas went through practice wearing a red protective jersey - the same kind the quarterbacks wear - signaling the All-Pro free safety was off-limits to contact.
"I'm just happy that I got a chance to go out there today," Thomas said after practice. "My teammates were happy that I was out there and it just felt good to run around."
Thomas wasn't willing to guarantee he would be ready in time for the team's regular-season opener against the St. Louis Rams on Sept. 13, but did say he felt comfortable with what he was able to accomplish in practice on Tuesday. And yesterday, Seattle coach Pete Carroll said it's "still realistic" to expect Thomas on the field when the Seahawks open the year against their NFC West rival.
"That's very much a topical issue for us right now, making sure we can get enough days to get him right, get him the work that he needs so that he can play," Carroll said. "We're shooting for the opener."
Thomas took part in team drills on Tuesday and his shoulder didn't appear to hold him back. He said he's able to raise his arm and catch a ball at its highest point.
"You saw me on the deep balls," Thomas said. "I think I did a pretty good job."
Sitting out the team's training camp practices to this point has been trial-some for Thomas, who said he lingered with losing his passion for the game as the sixth-year veteran dealt with the first major injury of his career.
"It's been very tough," Thomas said. "A lot of negative thoughts in my mind. I was debating if I still loved it at one point. But being out here today it reassured me that I love it. I just need to be out here. I just need to be involved."
Thomas said his mentality started to shift as soon as he returned to the field with his teammates.
"I felt like a little kid again just running around out there," he said. "It felt good."
Day 14 of Seahawks Training Camp presented by Bing saw Earl Thomas in pads for the first time and a brief guest DJ appearance by Michael Bennett and Marshawn Lynch.