Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard said not to worry about Earl Thomas playing in 2017.

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Count Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard as the latest to douse any of the speculation about Earl Thomas’ future that arose after a Tweet he sent following his season-ending broken tibia that he could consider retirement.

Asked if he expected Thomas to play next season, Richard said: “Absolutely. He loves to play this game, there’s no doubt. Of course we’re all disappointed. I know he is. He’s not getting a chance to do what he loves to do. I certainly hope so because the game is better with him out there playing.”

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and teammate Richard Sherman on Wednesday also each said they expect Thomas back in 2017.

With Thomas sidelined, Steven Terrell will take over as the free safety for the rest of the season and Richard spoke confidently of his ability to step into that role, noting that he has a chance to follow in the same footsteps as many other now-famous Seahawks.

“It’s going to be a fantastic opportunity for Steven Terrell to step up and show what he’s capable of doing,” Richard said. “Truthfully, we’ve been in these situations before and you wouldn’t know names like Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, Jeremy Lane, Walter Thurmond, all of the guys who have come through here and have essentially been able to make a name for themselves, it’s really come through injury. Guys have been prepared and right now Steven is doing a great job of preparing himself to go out there and grab this bull by the horns.”

Richard also noted that former Seahawk Jeron Johnson, who was re-signed on Tuesday, could help out at both safety positions. Johnson played in Seattle’s secondary from 2011-14.

“He’s been at for this long and for us to be in this unfortunate position and situation, it’s a really good place to be in, with regards to him coming in and understanding and knowing who we are and what we do,” Richard said. “We know who he is, we know what he’d going to be able to provide for us. He can play free safety and strong safety. Really if we had to play him Sunday, he’s be able.”