Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Thomas went through a walk-through Wednesday morning and practiced in the afternoon. Carroll did not say whether Thomas would start Sunday's regular-season opener at the Denver Broncos, saying it's too early to tell, as the Seahawks need to gauge his conditioning given that he has been away from the team all offseason.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported earlier Wednesday that the Dallas Cowboys increased their trade offer for Thomas to a second-round pick over the past week but that the Seahawks are seeking more than that in return.
Asked if a trade involving Thomas is still possible, Carroll said, "He's a Seahawk."
Thomas addressed his absence from the team in an Instagram post on Wednesday.
I worked my whole life for this..... I've never let me teammates, city or fans down as long as I've lived and don't plan on starting this weekend. With that being said, the disrespect has been well noted and will not be forgotten. Father Time may have an undefeated record but best believe I plan on taking him into triple overtime when it comes to my career.
Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin said he was "ecstatic" when he noticed Thomas at the team facility Wednesday morning.
"When I saw him sitting down in the meeting room, I couldn't help but just go give him a big hug," Baldwin said. "That's my boy. Love him to death. You grow with somebody and you see somebody work for so long, just how they operate, the type of person they are. It's really hard to come by guys who think out of this stratosphere, as Bobby [Wagner] would like to call it, so it's really exciting to have him back, extremely exciting to have him back. Can't wait to spend more time with him."
While Thomas has been reinstated from the reserve/did not report list, the Seahawks have been granted an exemption that allows him to practice this week without counting against their 53-man roster. He would need to be activated by Saturday if he's going to play Sunday, which would require a corresponding roster move.
"Really good to see Earl back," Seahawks defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said. "I became a better coach today. But really good to see him. You know how much he's been a part of this program and how awesome he's been from the day he arrived here. He's part of this family. It's like having a family member back that hasn't been around. Everybody was really happy to see him."
Carroll said he got an indication, "the last couple days," that Thomas might show up.
Asked what changed, Carroll said, "He's ready. He wants to play football. He's ready to get back at it. This is a guy that's been as dedicated to this game as anybody we've ever seen, and he wants to play football. We had to deal with some business issues, and that's what he was dealing with, and it came back down to the love of the game, that his love of the game is [undeniable]. And so we're back at it."
In response to a question about where Thomas is physically, Norton said, "It was hard to tell; but if you know Earl, he's ready. He's never not ready. So we understand what his work ethic has been since he's been here, the things that have made him one of the top players in the league. So I think if you know anything about Earl, you know he's ready."
Carroll was asked how much better the Seahawks are with Thomas back.
"One of the best players that plays the game," Carroll said. "He's been a marvelous part of our program for a long time. It's why we never wavered in the thought that he [was] going to be with us. It was just a matter of time to try to make sense and do what we could do. Fortunately, we're back at it. We'd like him to be a Seahawk for the rest of his career. That's how we've always thought about it. The rest of it, we'll take care of it when the time is right."
Thomas, 29, held out all offseason while seeking a contract extension or a trade to a team that will give him one.
Asked if there will be any move to try to secure Thomas' long-term future in Seattle, Carroll would only say, "We'll see as we move forward."
Thomas' absence from mandatory minicamp and training camp has subjected him to roughly $1.6 million in fines. He would have stood to miss out on $500,000 each week he skipped during the regular season; that's the amount of each game check as part of his $8.5 million salary for 2018.
Carroll would not comment on whether the Seahawks have waived Thomas' fines for missing mandatory minicamp and training camp. The NFL Network reported that the team agreed to wipe away "almost" all of his fines.
"All that stuff's internal, how we handle this, and we wouldn't share it with you. We haven't in the past and we're not going to now," Carroll said. "But we have our business that we have to do, and that's underway."
In Thomas' absence, the Seahawks had been preparing to start 2017 fourth-round pick Tedric Thompson at free safety.