NFL’s Top 100: Earl Thomas (#42)

Earl Thomas

With this offseason’s expected but early retirement of strong safety Kam Chancellor, and the surprising release of cornerback Richard Sherman, suddenly free safety Earl Thomas was the last man standing from the Seattle Seahawks’ original “Legion of Boom” secondary.

The LOB was the heart, soul and soundtrack of the 2010s’ Seahawks squads that made five straight playoff appearances, two Super Bowl appearances, and won Super Bowl XLVIII win a rout of defensive dominance against the Denver Broncos.

The original crew that made the nickname famous was Thomas, Chancellor, Sherman and cornerback Brandon Browner, who left Seattle in 2014 but returned two years later, only to be waived during training camp.

A neck injury forced Chancellor into retirement. An Achilles’ injury ended Sherman’s 2017 season early, and he was eventually cut and signed by the rival San Francisco 49ers. Both of them, along with Thomas still appeared on the NFL Network’s annual Top 100 ranking for 2018. Thomas earned the No. 42 spot as voted on by his peers in the league.

Thomas recorded 88 tackles last season, two interceptions, six pass breakups and a forced fumble. He returned one of his picks for a touchdown, a 78-yard score in Seattle’s Oct. 29 win over the Houston Texans. He was voted to his sixth Pro Bowl and his fifth All-Pro team.

It seemed like the Seahawks were going to lose Thomas before the 2018 season began, as he held out during training camp for a new contract amid rumors that a trade — possibly to his hometown Dallas Cowboys — was imminent. But Thomas is still in Seattle as this article is being published, still the leader of an best player in the new-look Legion of Boom.

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