Pete Carroll says Earl Thomas is 'way ahead of schedule' in rehab from broken leg

The Seattle Seahawks saw their defense go from elite to just average in the blink of an eye last season, all due to Earl Thomas' season-ending leg injury. It left the Seahawks with a gaping hole at free safety which couldn't be filled by his replacement, Steven Terrell.

The injury caused Thomas to contemplate retirement, but he's since declared that he'll be back in 2017. Exactly when remains to be seen, but if Pete Carroll's latest update is any indication, it'll be sooner rather than later.

Carroll said Thomas is "way ahead of schedule" on his recovery from a broken leg, and everyone should "look for 29 to be back in action."

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Thomas, who's a perennial Pro Bowler and a staple in Seattle's defense, missed five games last season after he broke his leg against the Panthers in Week 13. He had already racked up a career-high 10 passes defensed and picked off two passes, once again playing terrific defense in the deep part of the field.

He's already begun running on his leg, doing so on an anti-gravity treadmill and climbing on an incline machine.

Thinking about all my teammates. I'm not gonna let y'all down real talk.

— Earl Thomas (@Earl_Thomas) March 14, 2017

As long as Thomas is back and healthy in 2017, the Seahawks will once again be contenders in the NFC.