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Already good, and working to get better

Earl Thomas’ first two years with the Seahawks have included a series of oh-really experiences and achievements.

Just check this resume:

After being the 14th pick overall in the 2010 NFL Draft, Thomas not only started 16 games at free safety, he led the team in interceptions (five) and finished fifth in tackles (71) during the regular season and then contributed eight solo tackles in the upset of the defending Super Bowl champion Saints in a wild-card playoff game.

Last season, he was voted the NFC Pro Bowl squad after finishing third on the team in tackles (92) and helping the defense rank ninth in the NFL – the first time the Seahawks had been in the Top 10 since 1997, and only the sixth time in franchise history.

Wednesday night, it was announced that Thomas had landed at the No. 66 spot on the NFL Network’s continuing look at the Top 100 players in the league. Check out the video, if you haven’t already seen it, and remember that the Seahawks had no one on the list last year.

But the best thing about Thomas is that he is working to get even better.

“Playing football is never enough, there’s always something you can learn and I’m still learning new stuff every day,” Thomas said today after the team’s 45-minute on-field workout during its offseason program.

“I watch a lot of guys around the league, just to see what they’re doing and what they’re having success with to see if I can add that to my game and just go from there.”

Who’s on Thomas’ must-watch list? Ed Reed, the Ravens’ eight-time Pro Bowl safety. Troy Polamalu, the Steelers’ seven-time Pro Bowl safety. Nick Collins, the Packers’ three-time Pro Bowl safety.

“Just the top guys in the league, to see what they’re doing,” Thomas said.

Don’t look now, but Thomas has climbed into that category – in only two seasons.

Asked about his growing national notoriety, Thomas said, “Anything is motivation. I’m really just focused on what’s going down here in Seattle. All the personal accolades, that’s great. But if you win, everybody gets personal accolades. And I want to win.”

The Seahawks have won seven games in each of Thomas’ two seasons, after winning a combined nine games in 2008 and 2009. Baby steps, perhaps, but steps in the right direction as running back Marshawn Lynch also is included on the NFL Network list at No. 94.

“I don’t know what everybody thinks, but in my eyes if you’re a great player the personal accolades are going to come,” he said. “But just let them fall and play ball. I’ve been playing ball since I was little and I love doing it. If people like the way I play, that’s fine. If they don’t, that’s fine, too. I just like to play ball.”


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