RENTON, Wash. (AP) Earl Thomas was late to the announcement for his own contract extension, proving the Seattle Seahawks All-Pro free safety isn't just fast on the field.
Driving a little too speedy to the Seahawks' facility on Tuesday morning made Thomas late after getting pulled over.
"I didn't try and bulldog him and say, `My name is Earl Thomas.' Because then he would be like, `This dude is cocky,' and give me a ticket," Thomas joked. "He let me off. That's the moral of the story."
Thomas was locked up through the 2018 season when the Seahawks announced a four-year contract extension making him the highest-paid safety in the NFL. The deal is worth $40 million over four years and includes $27.7 million in guaranteed money.
Thomas wanted the title of highest-paid safety. He also wanted the responsibility that comes with that. Thomas was hoping to get a long-term deal in place before the Seahawks start organized team activities later this month so there were no distractions heading into the 2014 season.
"I compete in everything that I do and I want to set the bar. That was my goal," Thomas said.
Thomas was Seattle's second first-round pick in the 2010 draft, the first with coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider leading the franchise.
It's turned out to be one of the most important selections the team has made since starting a makeover with the duo in charge of molding the Seahawks into a championship club.
Thomas is a two-time first-team All-Pro selection and regarded as the top safety in the NFL. The Seahawks would be a different defensive team if they didn't have Thomas' skills at their disposal. His speed allows Thomas uncommon range in coverage. He's become more disciplined staying within Seattle's defensive framework, and Thomas has remained reliable at cleaning up any problems in the back.
"I think the thing that comes to the front for me is this program has always been based on competition. When we look for players and coaches to add to our club we're always looking for great competitors," Carroll said. "When we had the chance to take Earl, I don't know that I appreciated it as much as I do now the great competitor that he is. He has throughout the time he's been with us as a very young man, has played at the highest level he can generate every single day that he's played for us in this organization."
Thomas gets the second major extension Seattle has announced this offseason after locking up Carroll through 2016. Now the question is if the Seahawks can get an extension done with All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman.
Staying in-house has been the Seahawks' priority this offseason; they also took care of bringing back defensive end Michael Bennett.
"Sherm has everything under control. He'll take care of it," Thomas said.
Schneider said the commitment to Thomas is another signal that Seattle doesn't intend on being a contender or a champion just once.
"I think you're seeing an evolution of our development in terms of acquisition and how we're building this team to be a consistent championship-caliber team," Schneider said. "We talk about it all the time we don't want to be a team that cruises in and cruises out."
Thomas wanted to share the day with those close to him. He made sure one of the photo ops before the formal announcement included most of the defensive coaching staff, along with teammate Kam Chancellor, who signed an extension through 2017 last offseason.
"That's my family. That's the people that have helped me," Thomas said. "... You learn from everybody, every opportunity you get. I don't waste my time. I invest everything."