Earl Thomas is the best safety in the National Football League right now. Someone might want to tell Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks this because they have just named the All-Pro star the teams punt returner for the 2014 NFL season.
As you may well have guessed, it isn't normal to put your Defensive Player of the Year candidate in the line of fire of sustaining injuries when he really doesn't need too so this is a mind-boggling decision from Carroll.
However, after a successful audition throughout this years pre-season games, Carroll announced on Monday that Thomas earned the job and will be the team’s punt returner when the regular season begins on Thursday against the Green Bay Packers.
Thomas has never returned punts during his four-year NFL career and only returned four punts for 58 yards during his college career at the Texas Longhorns, but against the Chicago Bears last week he did have a 59-yard return.
Thomas is easily the best safety in the world right now and his range in the defensive backfield makes him one of the most important players in the NFL for a team that relies on defense. Which makes this decision even harder to comprehend.
The Seahawks have had ample time to find a decent return man in free agency, the draft, and the waiver wire so if Thomas does end up getting hurt and missing time then he will surely be chastised for his actions.
Golden Tate was the team’s primary punt returner but signed a free agent deal with the Detroit Lions this offseason.
Maybe Thomas will be the new Devin Hester, who knows. But this is a risk that 99% of football coaches would steer completely away from.