Seahawks safety Earl Thomas said Thursday he hopes Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski stays positive as he deals with season-ending back surgery.

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The news Thursday that New England tight end Rob Gronkowski is likely to miss the rest of the season hit home to one Seattle Seahawk — safety Earl Thomas.

Gronkowski’s family and the Patriots announced Thursday night that the Arizona grad will have back surgery that is likely to sideline him for the rest of the year. The statement also noted that Gronkowski suffered a pulmonary contusion to his lung when he was hit by Thomas during Seattle’s game against the Patriots on Nov. 7.

That means Thomas’ hit may not have been the direct cause of the injury that is forcing Gronkowski to have surgery.

The injury Gronkowski suffered after the Thomas hit, though, forced him to miss one game.

And in the week after that hit, Thomas and Gronkowski engaged in a Twitter exchange that gained notice throughout the league, Thomas saying he hoped Gronkowski returned sooner rather than later, Gronkowski reiterating that the hit from Thomas was clean, saying “you showed the fans a real football hit.”

Before practice Thursday, Thomas was asked about the latest news on Gronkowski. His answer came with an even renewed appreciation of dealing with injuries — as Thomas spoke, he was preparing to head out to a practice after having last Sunday missed the first game of his NFL career with a hamstring injury.

“I’m sorry it turned out the way it did,” Thomas said. “When you are dealing with injuries, it’s hard on your mind. I just hopes he stays positive.”