Earl Thomas doesn’t often show much emotion. He’s a serious, no-nonsense person who keeps his words to a minimum.
But as the Ravens prepared to play the Seattle Seahawks this week, his teammates could tell what the game meant to him. The veteran safety spent the first nine seasons of his career in Seattle before their relationship ended on sour terms, and this week was a chance to show they made a mistake letting him walk.
Thomas didn’t need to say much for his teammates to know how badly he wanted to win.
“It’s just a game, but for Earl it was a little bit more,” cornerback Marlon Humphrey said.
Thomas got exactly what he wanted, as the Ravens took down the Seahawks 30-16 at CenturyLink Field in the defense’s best performance of the season. Thomas said it was the most satisfying win he’s had in a long time.
“Just to come in here where I started, and get the win like that, and we dominated too, it felt really, really, really good,” Thomas said. “Today was big. My teammates have been telling me all week they have my back and it felt real good for those guys to show up how they did today. It felt so good to get that win.”
After the game, Head Coach John Harbaugh presented Thomas with a game ball. He then broke down the huddle and thanked his teammates for coming through for him.
“That means everything,” Thomas said.
Thomas had a remarkable career in Seattle, building a Hall of Fame resume with six Pro Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl win. He was the central piece of the Seahawks iconic “Legion of Boom” secondary, but when the time came for him to cash in with a big contract, Seattle opted to let him walk.
His illustrious Seahawks tenure ended in unceremonious fashion, when he broke his leg and flipped off the coaching staff as he got carted off the field.
Sunday offered a bit of revenge, and Thomas made sure to let his old coach Pete Carroll hear about it. As Humphrey scored on a fumble recovery late in the fourth quarter to essentially put the game out of reach, which was Baltimore’s second defensive touchdown on the day, Thomas barked over to Seattle’s bench.
“You know I was going to say something,” he said. “I definitely said what I had to say. That’s between me and them. It felt great, just to see Marcus [Peters] running down the sidelines and to see Marlon scoop that big fumble and score.”
The reception for Thomas from the fans was mostly positive throughout the day. Plenty of fans still had his No. 29 jersey in the stand, and he got plenty of cheers when he walked out to the field.
But there were still some who took their jabs at Thomas, and a Seattle fan just outside Baltimore’s locker room had a sign that read, “The Ravens are big and slow, just like Earl.” The sign caught the attention of Humphrey, who said Thomas must have seen it as well.
“I saw a lot of signs,” Thomas said. “It’s all good. That sign got nothing to do with the [win]. It’s all good.”
After the victory, Thomas embraced some of his former teammates and actually swapped jerseys with quarterback Russell Wilson. He said “it’s all love” between him and the players.
But it also was clearly all love between him and his new teammates. They came through in a big way with that win, and the resounding theme was how they wanted to get it done for Thomas.
“I told him, ‘We’re going to win it for you,’” quarterback Lamar Jackson said. “We’ll put you on our back, put the team on my back if I need to, and we’re going to win.”
Thomas and the Ravens now have two weeks to enjoy this victory. Baltimore is 5-2 at the bye week and just had their best victory of the season.
“I definitely came in here with a purpose and we got it done,” Thomas said.