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Former Seahawks FS Earl Thomas
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Groz: Why Seahawks fans will appreciate Earl Thomas in his return

Earl Thomas left the Seahawks in free agency after a tumultuous final year in Seattle. (Getty)

It’s something I have noticed that each individual fanbase handles differently – whether to boo or cheer an athlete who once played for your team but has since moved on.

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Based on watching the Seattle fan base over the years, if Seahawks fans get the chance I believe Earl Thomas will hear mainly cheers when he returns to CenturyLink Field as a member of the Baltimore Ravens. Here’s why:

In Seattle it’s not as much about being a great player as it is about how you go – well, most of the time.

Ken Griffey Jr., Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton got cheered. Alex Rodriguez… well, you can still hear the boos. In the case of Alex he never quite fit with the area. Somehow he seemed too slick. He said money wasn’t the object when it obviously was, but he got an offer that was $90 million higher from the Texas Rangers. His last season with the Mariners was brilliant, but that didn’t stop the boos. Randy Johnson, on the other hand, you could argue tanked the first half of his final season, yet he heard cheers when he returned. That 1995 Mariners thing apparently weighed heavy and he was fiery and emotional, like Kemp and Payton.

One Seahawks player I was convinced would have gotten booed if fans had been given the opportunity was Shaun Alexander, but he didn’t play when the Redskins came to Seattle in his one year with the D.C. team. A belief by some that he ran out of bounds sometimes trumped a 28-touchdown MVP season, I guess.

So where does Earl fit? He was a unique character, a little guy who played hard – real hard – and was part of the iconic Legion of Boom. Though Richard Sherman being a 49er may test loyalties around here, I don’t think Earl has anything to worry about. He will hear mainly cheers at CenturyLink on Sunday, and it will matter to him.

Simple Question: When you see Earl Thomas this weekend, what will you do? Reply with your reasoning below.

Posted by 710 ESPN Seattle on Thursday, October 17, 2019

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Read more on Earl Thomas’ return from Jim Moore