Earl Thomas, out 2 years, seeking return to NFL


Seven-time Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas wants to resume his NFL career after being out of the league for the past two seasons.

“I’m ready,” Thomas texted ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Friday. “I’m in shape. My timing is on point — I’m proud of that.”

Thomas, who turns 33 in May, hasn’t played since being released by the Baltimore Ravens in August 2020, two days after he punched teammate Chuck Clark during a training camp practice.

With a brash and physical style, Thomas was once considered one of the best safeties in the NFL, getting named first-team All-Pro from 2012 to 2014 as a member of the Seattle Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom.” Thomas’ relationship with the Seahawks, however, became strained in 2018 when he flashed his right middle finger toward coach Pete Carroll while being carted off with a broken leg.

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A year later, the Ravens signed Thomas to a four-year, $55 million contract that included $32 million in guaranteed money, the largest given to a free agent in franchise history. But he only lasted 17 months in Baltimore, where his tumultuous time was marked by missed meetings, a couple of heated confrontations with teammates and two interceptions.

The breaking point with the Ravens came in the team’s fourth training camp practice of the year. After Thomas blew a coverage, the normally mild-mannered Clark angrily ripped off his helmet and threw it to the ground. Thomas then punched Clark, a source said.

After getting cut by Baltimore, Thomas posted on Twitter: “Had a great run…Wish things would have ended different but you live and you learn.”

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Thomas has had one free-agent visit since then, meeting with the Houston Texans in September 2020. It was expected that Thomas would join the Texans, but he was never signed.

He filed a grievance against the Ravens, seeking his $10 million guaranteed salary in 2020. Baltimore declined to pay, saying he violated his contract with misconduct. Ravens GM Eric DeCosta in February said Thomas’ grievance had not been resolved.

“We’ll continue to discuss that in a timely fashion, and at some point, maybe this year, we’ll have something to say on that,” DeCosta said.

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