Rice says 49ers should evaluate Earl Thomas with caution


It's not often that a three-time All-Pro safety is available on the free-agent market. But that's exactly where we are today in the NFL, as former Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens defensive back Earl Thomas was released over the weekend following an altercation with a teammate.

The 49ers have been one of the teams rumored to be interested in Thomas, but the 31-year-old's reported conduct during his time in Baltimore makes potentially bringing him in far from a simple transaction.

Former 49er and Hall of Fame wideout Jerry Rice joined 95.7 The Game on Monday morning, and said if the 49ers want to look into Thomas, they should do so carefully.

"You've got to be very smart here because if a team like the Ravens let you go, it's really making a statement where this guy -- where his head is at right now," Rice said (h/t 49ersWebZone/David Bonilla). "I really don't know him. I don't know him at all. But for them to make a drastic move like that, I think it's sending a message throughout the league that this guy, he has some problems."

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In addition to the practice altercation with Ravens safety Chuck Clark, Thomas wasn't well-liked by his teammates and had a pattern of being late, NBC Sports' Peter King reported Sunday night.


49ers cornerback Richard Sherman was a teammate of Thomas' in Seattle, as the two were the backbone of the infamous "Legion of Boom." Sherman tweeted over the weekend that he hopes to see Thomas get back on the right track in the NFL.

Salary cap constraints and a strong roster likely will keep the 49ers from kicking the tires on Thomas, but the speculation nevertheless will persist among fans.