Seahawks reach deal with Thomas
RENTON, Wash. (AP)
Seahawks draft choice Earl Thomas has agreed to a five-year contract with $12.32 million guaranteed and a maximum value of $21.1 million, Thomas' agent told The Associated Press late Saturday night.
Agent Andrew Kessler informed the AP hours after the first day of Seattle's training camp ended.
''Earl is extremely excited to reach an agreement with the Seahawks and get on the practice field, and we are both very appreciative of the sincere and strong effort put forth by the team to get this contract finalized,'' Kessler wrote in an e-mail.
A team spokesman confirmed only that the Seahawks had agreed to terms with the 21-year-old Thomas, drafted 14th overall.
Thomas posted on his Twitter account late Saturday: ''the deal is finally done bout to go sign the paperwork now....ow-w-w let's do it.''
Seattle's likely starting safety says he will be on the field for Sunday afternoon's third practice of camp.
When asked after the second practice Saturday evening when he wanted him in camp, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll chuckled and said, ''Yesterday.''
Seattle's second of two first-round picks in April's draft left Texas as an All-American two years early to buy his parents a new home. They were displaced by a hurricane in 2005 and have lived cramped in a tiny bedroom of Thomas' grandparents' house in Orange, Texas.
But not everything was perfect on Carroll's first day running Seattle's preseason: Sixth-overall pick Russell Okung remained unsigned.
Peter Schaffer, Okung's agent, had been hopeful Seattle's replacement for retired left tackle Walter Jones would be on the field Saturday. Schaffer said if it didn't happen, ''it won't be for a lack of effort on our part.''
Carroll said the Seahawks were ''checking hourly'' on the progress on negotiations with Okung's representatives.
''It's very, very difficult on those guys I know,'' Carroll said of both top picks, hours before Thomas agreed to his contract. ''Both those guys are guys who want to be here in the worst way.
''But our focus goes to the guys who are here, of course. ... I know we made very strong attempts to get this done prior to camp.''
Seattle was without last year's top pick, linebacker Aaron Curry, for the first eight days of 2009's training camp because of an impasse in contract negotiations. The fourth-overall selection eventually signed for $34 million guaranteed.
Thomas and Okung became the sixth and seventh of Seattle's last nine first-round picks to be late for camp.
Curry said he doesn't begrudge the two rookies.
''I would just tell them to be patient,'' Curry said. ''What they are asking is their right as players, and they deserve every dollar that they can get. This is the business of the game. The business is all about numbers. When it comes to numbers, you've got to protect yourself, because you never know when this can end for you.''
Okung had a salary slot seemingly set for him. Eric Berry got $34 million guaranteed from Kansas City as the fifth pick. And seventh-overall choice Joe Haden received $26 million from Cleveland.
PLEASANT SURPRISES: Leon Washington was in individual drills during the morning practice, nine months after he sustained a compound fracture in his leg during a game for the New York Jets against Oakland.
The 2008 All-Pro kick returner with the Jets, whom Seattle acquired in an April trade, said he was ''obviously satisfied'' to have met his goal of being on the field to start training camp.
Rookie fourth-round draft choice Walter Thurmond out of Oregon was also thrilled to be practicing 10-plus months after he tore three ligaments in his right knee.
''I really worked hard to get here,'' said Thurmond, who was considered one of the nation's top collegiate defensive backs before his injury.
Like Washington, Thurmond was held out of the afternoon practice for preservation. So were 34-year-old quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, wide receivers T.J. Houshmandzadeh (offseason hernia surgery) and Deion Branch (knee surgery) and offensive lineman Ray Willis.
MOREY RETIRES: Special-teams ace Sean Morey retired before ever playing a game for the Seahawks.
A team spokesman announced the move minutes before camp's first practice. Morey was a Pro Bowl selection in 2008 with Arizona, and he signed a free-agent contract with Seattle this offseason.
The 34-year-old has been a leader in raising awareness of head injuries. Last season, he was named co-chair of the NFL Players Association's concussion and traumatic brain injury committee.
Morey went to Brown then played nine seasons for the Patriots, Steelers and Cardinals.
EXTRA POINTS: The team placed OL Chester Pitts, whom it signed Thursday to a one-year deal worth up to $2 million, on the active physically-unable-to-perform list. Pitts had microfracture knee surgery 10 months ago. Carroll said it could be two more months before the former Houston Texan returns. Also onto the PUP list: FB Owen Schmitt and CB Josh Pinkard. Carroll said Schmitt (infection) should be back in a day or two. ... QBs are dodging big, green yoga-like stretching balls thrown by teammates while looking to throw in one drill, to simulate dodging pass rushers.