Ravens never putting Earl Thomas and 'comfortable' in same sentence

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Earl Thomas acknowledges it will take time for him to learn the Baltimore Ravens' defense after spending all nine of his NFL seasons in Seattle.

Ravens coaches and players are also getting familiar with the six-time Pro Bowl safety and an intensity that few players bring. Walking around with that no-nonsense stare, Thomas wears a laser-type focus that has been key in him owning the middle of the field.

When asked how comfortable Thomas is with the Baltimore defense, coach John Harbaugh had to make a clarification.

"He has never looked 'comfortable.' I would not put 'comfortable' and 'Earl Thomas' in the same sentence," Harbaugh said. "He has looked determined. He looks like he understands the defense, which I think is what you’re alluding to. He looks crisp and sharp. He has been moving really well. He looks really good to me."

Thomas comes to the Ravens following his middle-finger exit in Seattle and an about-face during free agency. He was set to sign a one-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs before Baltimore entered the picture late.

After the Cleveland Browns traded for wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., the Ravens persuaded Thomas to come to Baltimore on a four-year, $55 million deal (which included a $20 million signing bonus). The Ravens added their best ball-hawking safety since Ed Reed as well as more edge to a retooled defense.

During his introductory news conference in March, Thomas lived up to his reputation of being a man of few words and a lot of passion.

"Some dogs don't bark," Ravens defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale said after Thomas joined the Ravens. "They just bite."

Thomas believes stories about his all-business attitude are a little overhyped. But you rarely see a smile from Thomas on any pictures on his Instagram.

"I’m not that intense, like everybody says," Thomas said. "In the locker room, guys, they’re starting to understand me and vice versa. These are my type of guys. This is the locker room that I want to be a part of. God just worked it out for me."

Thomas understands the tradition of great defenses. In Seattle, Thomas was part of the "Legion of Boom" and a defense that allowed the fewest points for four straight years (2012-15). Now, he's joining a Ravens secondary that could be the best in the NFL and a defense that has ranked in the top 10 in four of the past five seasons.

Even though there is a similar standard of success, Thomas sees a big difference between the defenses in Seattle and Baltimore.

"This defense is very complex compared to what we were doing in Seattle," Thomas said. "We were just running Cover 3 all the time. But now, we’re making calls on the fly. That’s the biggest part. That’s the biggest adjustment for me. But, just being around these guys, that brings it all in. They’re helping me. That’s what brothers do.”

Does Thomas like the complexity of the Ravens' defense?

"I haven’t really enjoyed it that much, to be totally honest," he said. "But, I know it’s going to pay off, because we’re going to make it very hard on quarterbacks."

What will make it hard on quarterbacks is if Thomas can regain his previous form. Thomas, 30, is one of four safeties to record over 10 interceptions, 200 tackles and multiple touchdowns since 2015.

At his best, he has the best range in the game. Playing as a single-high safety, Thomas covers sideline to sideline, closing on receivers to break up passes or pick them off.

His 28 interceptions are the third-most in the league since he came into the NFL in 2010, even though he has missed 19 games the past three seasons. He was the second-highest-graded safety in the NFL last season by Pro Football Focus before he sustained a broken left leg on Sept. 30.

During offseason workouts, Thomas showed no signs of the injury.

"I have my days," Thomas said at the end of mandatory minicamp. "But, for the most part, like today, you never want to get off the field when you’re feeling good. Usually, I’ll take three reps a period, four reps, but I didn’t want to come out today. I felt really good."

Safety Tony Jefferson has been impressed with Thomas, saying he has some of the best instincts he has seen. As for Thomas' personality, he has shown a lighter side although it has taken him a little time to do so.

"We were like, ‘Hey, bro, we love you!'" Jefferson said while opening his arms. "It’s always like that for somebody who’s coming to a new program. He’s been in one spot for nine, 10 years, so obviously when you come into a different scenery on the opposite coast, it’s not always easy. He’s Earl. That’s how he is. We’re not here to change anybody. You are who you are, and we’re glad we have him. We love him."