By Brady Henderson
RENTON – A few notes and quotes from the press conference the Seahawks held Tuesday to announce free safety Earl Thomas’ four-year contract extension:
Speed demon. Before Thomas took center stage alongside coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider to discuss the biggest deal for a safety in NFL history, his day began with a traffic stop. In a hurry to get a large contingent of family members to the team’s headquarters in time for the 11 a.m. press conference, Thomas said he was pulled over not far from the Virginia Mason Athletic Center for driving 30 mph in a 25 zone.
“I know one speed,” Thomas joked with reporters.
Thomas got off without a speeding ticket – only a warning and a good story.
Record deal. The four-year, $40 million extension reportedly includes a whopping $27.725 million guaranteed and makes Thomas the highest-paid safety in league history in terms of average annual value. That was important to Thomas – not so much the money itself, he said, but the distinction.
“Definitely,” Thomas said. “I compete in everything I do and I want to set the bar. … It’s not about the money to me. It’s just about separating myself in anything I do. That’s it.”
Thomas said that at no point since last season ended was he worried that an extension wouldn’t be reached before the 2014 season, which was the final year of his rookie deal. Getting it done before organized team activities was important, he said, ensuring that an unsettled contract situation won’t take his focus away from football.
Thomas’ impact. Thomas, a three-time Pro-Bowl selection and two-time All-Pro, is considered perhaps the most important member of Seattle’s defense because of the way his speed and sideline-to-sideline range allow others to be utilized. He took a moment Tuesday to toot his own horn in that regard.
“People always say, ‘How come Seattle can have fifth-round or sixth-round corners and they can have so much success?’ Well, 29 is right here,” he said, referring to his own jersey number and pointing his finger down at the table for emphasis. “I’m pushing that thing. I’m dead serious. I say that as humbly as possible, though.”
Sherman deal next? The Seahawks have now locked up two members of their secondary, having given strong safety Kam Chancellor an extension last offseason. Richard Sherman could be next, reports stating that the two sides are working on a deal that would make him the highest-paid cornerback in the league. Thomas expressed confidence that a deal will be reached.
“I love Sherm, and I know, I have no doubt that he will get his [deal] done,” Thomas said. “He’s a great player. Those players like that are hard to replace and I respect everything that guy brings to the table. I don’t want to play with anybody else.”