Safety only Seahawks starter, but five teammates named alternates.
Free safety Earl Thomas’ improvement in his second season didn’t translate to more interceptions this season.
It did earn him a trip to Hawaii, though.
Thomas was named to the Pro Bowl, the league announced Tuesday. He was chosen as the starting free safety, and he is the first Seahawk to be named to the game since 2008.
While Thomas was the only Seahawk named in Tuesday’s announcement, there’s a good chance he’ll be joined by at least a teammate or two when the game is played in Hawaii on Jan. 29.
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Strong safety Kam Chancellor, cornerback Brandon Browner and fullback Michael Robinson were all named first alternates to the Pro Bowl, meaning they would step in should one of the selected players be unavailable. Also, because the Pro Bowl is played the week before the Super Bowl, any player whose team is involved in that game will need to be replaced.
Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch — the team’s first 1,000-yard rusher in six years — is a second-team alternate while punter Jon Ryan is a third-team alternate.
The 49ers and Patriots each had eight players named to the Pro Bowl, tied for most in the league. The Seahawks have not had a player named to the Pro Bowl since 2008 when linebacker Julian Peterson and offensive tackle Walter Jones were chosen. Jones did not end up playing in that game after undergoing knee surgery.
The Seahawks were the only team in the league that didn’t have a Pro Bowler in either of the past two seasons, a dry spell that ended with Thomas’ selection.
“Dream come true,” Thomas said on his Twitter account. “Thanks to all my teammates.”
Thomas was chosen by Seattle in the first round of the 2010 draft, the No. 14 pick overall. He intercepted four passes in his first six games, taking chances that opponents began to take advantage of later in the season. He finished the season with five interceptions, matching Seattle’s franchise record for rookies.
He has intercepted two passes this season, fewest of any starter in Seattle’s secondary, but his range has been a key factor in the improvement of Seattle’s defense overall and its secondary in particular.
“Earl hasn’t had the picks, but he is playing better,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said earlier this month. “He’s playing more disciplined football for us.”
Danny O’Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @dannyoneil.