PHOENIX – A recap of the Seahawks' activities for activities for Jan. 25, when the team flew to Arizona to begin on-site preparations for next Sunday's matchup against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX:
FOCUS ON: EARL THOMAS' SHOULDER
|STAT DU JOUR: A SHOW OF HANDS|
You'll be hearing a lot about – and from – the Seahawks' receivers during Super Bowl week. In their first 18 games this season, including playoffs, seven players have led the team or tied for the team lead in receptions and eight led the team in receiving yards. Here's a look at who did each, and how many times:
|YOU DON'T SAY|
"I think Sherm got that line from me. That's how I talk. So any time you hear Sherm talking bold like that, he definitely got that from me."
Earl Thomas when asked about Richard Sherman referring to Kam Chancellor as an All-Pro lion amongst a pack of All-Pro wild dogs in the Seahawks' secondary.
The Seahawks' All-Pro free safety had not talked to the media since injuring his shoulder in the NFC Championship game last Sunday. That, of course, changed this Sunday after the team arrived here and Thomas was one of the players who took part in the media session.
The first thing Thomas was asked to do was give a shout out to the troops who will be watching Super Bowl XLIX from afar.
"Troops, this is Earl Thomas," he said. "I'm banged up, just like you guys probably are. And we're still going to fight through it. That's what we do."
Since he brought it up, how is the shoulder?
"It's pretty good," Thomas said. "Especially with this type of environment, it makes it better."
Thomas injured the shoulder in the second quarter of the NFC title game against the Green Bay Packers, but he returned wearing a harness and played the entire second half – turning in one of those if-you-didn't-know-you-wouldn't know efforts. He sat out practice on Wednesday and Thursday at Virginia Mason Athletic Center, but participated in Friday's practice.
Was there ever any doubt in his mind that he would be ready to play against the New England Patriots next Sunday?
"Since I was a little kid, everything time I got hurt I always came back in the game," Thomas said. "I played third base on my All-Star baseball team and a lined ground ball hit me in my mouth. I was wearing braces at the time, so my lip got stuck to my braces. I had to go to the emergency room. My dad said, 'Do you want to play? Do you want to go back and play?' I was like, 'Of course.'
"So this is me. I love competing. And I'm just glad. We're reliving our dream. It feels like a movie."
So check that "yes" box next to whether Thomas will play in the Super Bowl.
Which hurt the worst? The lip stuck to the braces? Or the shoulder injury?
"You can't really feel it, because you're pumping inside," Thomas said. "This is what's going to come with sports – the injuries. You learn from them. When I get older in my career, I'll learn to play with more focus when I can't do what I want to do as far as creativity-wise. So all of this is a learning lesson to me."
Asked about sitting out practice two days during the Super Bowl bye week, Thomas said, "I was trying to get over it in my head. It's a lot to deal with. This is my first major injury. So mentally, I was (upset). But I got the big picture. My teammates needed me. I'm going to do whatever I need to do for them."
A SUPER SENDOFF
The team's route to the airport for Sunday's flight was lined with 12s. Again. Just as they did last January, when the Seahawks flew to New Jersey on Jan. 26 for their matchup with the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, the Seahawks' fans turned out to give them a proper sendoff.
The Super Bowl will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in nearby Glendale. The Seahawks' last road game took place there. It was a Sunday night game on Dec. 21, and the Seahawks beat the Cardinals 35-6. As members of the NFC West, the Seahawks have played in the Cardinals' new stadium each season since it opened in 2006 – and Thomas in each of his seasons since being a first-round draft choice in 2010.
"Every time we play here, I love this stadium," Thomas said. "So this is kind of like a home game for me because I'm very familiar with this stadium."
UP NEXT: "BONUS MONDAY"
The Seahawks will a "Bonus Monday" practice at midday and then have their media session in the afternoon.
Photos of the 12s, the buses, and route to SeaTac Airport where the Seahawks boarded the plane to Arizona for Super Bowl 49.
Team photographer Rod Mar travels with the team and gives us the journey from the player's perspective.
Photos of the arrival and first media appearances in Phoenix, AZ on travel day to Super Bowl 49.