The Seahawks drafted Earl Thomas just before the University of Texas free safety's 21st birthday. Since arriving in Seattle as a 20-year-old All American full of potential, Thomas has grown up both on and off the field, maturing as a player on his way to becoming one of the best safeties in the NFL, and maturing as a man while becoming a husband and father.
Today, Thomas celebrates his 27th birthday having established himself as one of the most important players on the Seahawks roster, both for his unique talents and for his infectious passion.
When Richard Sherman was asked to rank Thomas' level of passion last season, he answered, "Between 1 and 10, he'd be a 97. That guy, he comes with it. He comes to play every game, he brings it every play, regardless of if he has won or lost a match. In terms of contact, being aggressive, being physical with ball carriers, he's going to get up and he's going to tell them about it. He's been that way since I've ever met him. He's passionate about how he plays, how he approaches the game, and every game, every play, you can depend on him."
It's hard to believe Seattle's passionate safety is already preparing for his seventh season with the Seahawks, but since being a rookie who at times played out of control to the point that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll threatened to bench him, Thomas has spent the past six seasons becoming one of the best players on a historically great defense.
Patrolling centerfield in Seattle's defense, Thomas has helped the Seahawks lead the NFL in scoring defense for four straight seasons, something never before accomplished in the Super Bowl era, and he has earned first-team All-Pro honors three times, second-team honors once, and five consecutive Pro Bowl nods from 2011-2015. Not a bad body of work before his 27th birthday.
Thomas' passionate, high-intensity persona isn't without a lighter side, however. He has been known to play a little bit of air guitar to celebrate a big interception, he has an underrated low-key sense of humor, and he recently got married while wearing a crown because, well, why not?
But when Thomas is dialed in, his "flow state" as he sometimes calls it, he becomes as fiery of a competitor as you'll see on a football field.
"He was more fiercely competitive than I could have anticipated," Carroll once said of Thomas. "Just extremely competitive, high-strung personality, just driven… Honestly, I wish I was as competitive as him."
And if Mr. Always Compete himself saying that about Thomas wasn't high enough praise on its own, Carroll went on to say later in that interview, "I watch this game and live this game through his eyes often. It's something that's dear to my heart. We share experiences all the time trying to get to a deeper understanding of it, and it's really awesome because I can watch it all happen through him and his play."
So happy birthday to a Seahawk whose standout play is near and dear to the heart not just of his coach, but to fans who have watched Thomas grow up in Seattle while helping take the Seahawks defense to new heights.
In six season with the Seahawks, Earl Thomas has accumulated a laundry list of accolades including numerous Pro Bowls, All-Pro teams and record breaking stats, and today is only your 27th birthday!