Earl Thomas “not sure” he’ll play Week One

A report from ESPN cast doubt on whether Seattle's All-Pro free safety will be available for Week One of the regular season. Where does Thomas stand now and who might get the call to replace him should his surgically-repaired shoulder keep him sidelined for longer than the Seahawks anticipated?

The Seahawks may be without All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas for training camp and perhaps even into the regular season, according to a report from Ed Werder of ESPN.

Thomas told Werder that "I'm unsure about everything at this point. I will find out more when I get back to Seattle on [July] 30th when I take my physical."

The Seahawks will officially open camp on July 31st and have previously expressed an expectation that Thomas would be participating.

"Yeah, Earl is to get ready for camp - that's really the idea here," Pete Carroll said during the May mini camps. "We have three and a half weeks here before we're done. He looks great - they're really fired up about his return and the rehab work he's done already. So it looks like it should be no problem. We'll have to wait and see once he gets back out there."

Thomas, 26, suffered a torn labrum against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game. He played through the pain in the Super Bowl and underwent surgery shortly thereafter.

The expected recovery time following surgery for a torn labrum is 6-8 months so the Seahawks knew Thomas could be limited in training camp. The club allowed versatile defensive back Jeron Johnson to sign with Washington as an undrafted free agent and currently have little experience among true free safeties behind Thomas with three former undrafted free agents in Steven Terrell, Dion Bailey and rookie Triston Wade listed at the position on the club's official roster.

Terrell, a third-year pro out of Texas A&M, has one career tackle under his belt and is even smaller at 5-10, 197 pounds than Thomas (5-10, 202). He'll likely get the first opportunity to take over for Thomas, making free safety a position to watch closely throughout training camp.

Bailey and, of course, Wade, have not played in a regular season game in the NFL. I viewed Bailey as a 5th round value in 2014 and was surprised that the 6-0, 211 pounder former USC standout wasn't drafted. Wade, much smaller at 5-11, 170 pounds, is lightning quick and proved himself to be a playmaker at Texas-San Antonio is facing a monstrous jump in competition.

Each has shown the awareness, agility and big play ability to warrant a closer look but none possess Thomas' rare blend of speed, explosive hitting and toughness. Defending against the St. Louis Rams' relatively pedestrian passing attack in Week One would be a challenge. Lining up against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers' vaunted passing game in Week Two is a much more formidable task.

As such, if the Seahawks anticipate that Thomas is going to be out for long, don't be surprised if versatile defensive back DeShawn Shead is moved back to safety. While the 6-2, 220 pound Shead lacks Thomas' agility and closing speed, he's heady and physical and has earned the respect of Seattle's coaching staff and fellow members of the Legion of Boom. Shead is currently listed among the club's cornerbacks.

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