Seattle Seahawks were dealt several huge blows at the back end of last season that ultimately hampered their chances of winning the Super Bowl.
Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman all played through the pain against the New England Patriots in February, with Thomas in particular providing the most heroic effort.
After the dust settled on the Seahawks' dramatic Super Bowl loss, it was confirmed that Thomas had indeed suffered a torn labrum and separated shoulder injury in the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers, with the diminutive beast playing every minute of the Super Bowl two weeks later despite the injury.
Good news for Seattle
These reports provided some terrible news for Seahawks fans, with Earl Thomas predicted to miss up to eight months. This would have potentially put him out for a large chunk of next season, but reports today from NFL insider Ian Rapoport are likely to ease Seattle fans' fears.
Rapoport reported on NFL Network on Wednesday that Seahawks' personnel expect the star safety to be back for week one of the 2015 NFL season.
"The expectations for personnel at the Seahawks and personnel close to Earl Thomas that I've spoke to is that this changes nothing," Rapoport reported on NFL Network.
"As far as the recovery time, I'm told that he will be ready in six months, which means he might start training camp on the physically unable to perform list, but they definitely think he will be ready for week one of the season."
This is certainly great news for Seattle fans. Any absence for Thomas would force the Seahawks to make huge changes to their set-up on defense. Thomas plays the role of deep lying safety so effectively and essentially patrols both sides of the field, which allows the more physical Kam Chancellor to create havoc nearer the line of scrimmage.
So Seahawks fans, is Earl Thomas the most important player on Seattle's defense? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.