Friday in Hawkville: Earl Thomas returns to practice for Seahawks

After sitting out Wednesday and Thursday to rest the shoulder he injured in Sunday’s NFC title game, All-Pro safety Earl Thomas returned to practice on Friday and “was back in action and full flow,” as coach Pete Carroll put it.

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 23, when the Seahawks held their "No Repeat Friday" practice as they continued to prepare for their matchup against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1:

FOCUS ON: EARL THOMAS

The All-Pro free safety was back where he belongs, and the Seahawks need him, during the team's final practice at VMAC before they head to Arizona to continue preparations next week for the Super Bowl matchup against the New England Patriots.

Thomas sat out Wednesday and Thursday to rest the shoulder he injured during the NFC Championship game last Sunday, but he participated in all phases of Friday's practice.

"It's really good to get him back out," coach Pete Carroll said. "He missed a couple days and all the continuity that these guys have shared for so long is not felt when he's not out there. He's a great communicator. And he sends such a message about the concerns of doing all the things right and all that that he picks everybody up."

Will Thomas be able to play in the Super Bowl?

"Earl's going to be fine for next week," Carroll said of Thomas, who is listed as questionable on the injury report. "It's going to take him all the way to game time. We'll keep him from getting banged. But he'll be fine by game time."

In fact, Carroll went so far as to say that Thomas would be able to play this Sunday if the Seahawks had a game.

"It's over. It's over, really," Carroll said. "It was two days of him being very uncomfortable with the setting. It's over now. He was back in action and full flow today."

INJURY REPORT: MARSHAWN LYNCH ALSO RETURNS TO PRACTICE

STAT DU JOUR: STILL EXPLOSIVE

After leading the league in explosive plays with 135 during the regular season (16-plus yard passes, 12-plus yard runs), the Seahawks have produced the most explosive plays in the postseason:

Team Rush Pass Total
Seahawks 9 13 22
Ravens 4 16 20
Panthers 8 8 16
Cowboys 5 11 16

The official end-of-the-week status report, as issued by the team:

Questionable
FS Earl Thomas (shoulder)

Full participation
DL Michael Bennett (not injury related)
OT Justin Britt (knee)
LS Clint Gresham (neck)
RB Marshawn Lynch (not injury related)
CB Richard Sherman (elbow)
OG J.R. Sweezy (ankle)

YOU DON'T SAY

"He's hands down the best back in the game because he can hurt you anytime he has the ball in his hands."

Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork on Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch


Sweezy was the only player who did not practice and Carroll said the team's starting right guard took part in the walkthrough. Carroll also said that all the players on the injury list should be ready to the play in the Super Bowl, and also included backup safety and special teams standout Jeron Johnson in that group after he missed both playoff games with an elbow injury.

"We're really getting everybody back that we hoped to get back, it appears," Carroll said.

For the Patriots:

Questionable
CB Brandon Browner (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
DT Chris Jones (elbow)
WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder/toe)
DL Sealver Siliga (foot)
C Bryan Stork (knee)

Probable
QB Tom Brady (ankle)

TEDY BRUSCHI ON CARROLL: "I ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT PETE WAS A GREAT COACH"

Carroll coached the Patriots from 1997-99, before being replaced by Bill Belichick. One of the players he coached was linebacker Tedy Bruschi, now a NFL analyst for ESPN. Bruschi was asked during a conference-call interview on Thursday what it was like to play for Carroll.

"I don't think he's changed much," Bruschi said. "Maybe he's grown as a coach in his own mind. I think you always try to improve. But I mean, I see that energy, I see the exuberance, the enthusiasm. The way he speaks at the podium when I watch his press conferences is very similar to the way he handled things with us in the locker room.

"I always thought that Pete was a great coach. Very influential in my career. I mean, I was just learning to play linebacker when Pete came in. I mean, I was a defensive end at the University of Arizona. That's all I did was rush the passer. So there was a lot I had to learn. And after my rookie year, in which I was primarily a special teams player and a situational pass rusher, developing into the linebacker that I eventually became with coach Belichick, Pete Carroll, Bo Pelini, Steve Sidwell, those types of coaches, really helped me develop as a player."

UP NEXT: AN "OFF" DAY, THEN OFF TO ARIZONA

The players are "off" on Saturday, and the team will fly to Arizona on Sunday to begin their on-site preparations for the matchup against the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1.

If you're planning to help send the team on its way Sunday, you need to check out Tony Drovetto's "12 Things 12s need to know about the Seahawks' Super Bowl sendoff."

As for the week of practice that the team just concluded, Carroll was pleased.

"This was an excellent week for us. We did it just the way we wanted to," he said. "We practiced as though we were playing a game this week and so we got all the installation in as we always do. So we're ready to go."

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