Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 9/1/14
What was initially thought to be more of a training camp experiment by the Seahawks instead became a confirmed truth on Monday. And it will put one of the league's best defensive players in a bigger spotlight — and in a lot more cross hairs. Seattle coach Pete Carroll confirmed to reporters on Monday that the reigning NFL champions will open the season with All-Pro safety Earl Thomas returning punts. The Seahawks kick off the season Thursday night, hosting Green Bay at 8:30 p.m. ET. The team then confirmed the news on Twitter by retweeting an NFL.com report. According to profootballtalk.com, Carroll made the announcement with a one-word answer when asked by a reporter: "Yeah." The risk to punt returners is obvious, and Thomas doesn't exactly bring a lot of experience to the position. He has never returned a regular-season punt in his four-year NFL career and returned just four for 58 yards while in college at Texas. But his speed and ranginess make him perhaps the best free safety in the league — as evidenced by his two first-team All-Pro selections and his four-year, $40 million contract extension in the offseason. Among others who were tried at the position up to the final days of preseason were receiver Bryan Walters and cornerbacks Phillip Adams and Richard Sherman. Another candidate would seem to be versatile receiver Percy Harvin. While Harvin has no experience as a punt returner in the pros, either, he does have six career kickoff-return TDs (including one in last season's Super Bowl). But Harvin also has an extensive injury history.
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