SEATTLE -- Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas said, "it's the best feeling in the world," after his team beat the Seahawks on Sunday in his first game back in Seattle since his bitter divorce from the team.
Thomas spent his first nine seasons with the Seahawks, reaching the Pro Bowl six times and winning a Super Bowl in February 2014. But Thomas' time in Seattle ended poorly in September 2018, when he flipped his middle finger at Seahawks coach Pete Carroll while being carted off the field with a broken leg.
Even though Thomas downplayed his return last week, he revealed postgame how much his first game back at CenturyLink Field really meant.
"I definitely came in here with a purpose, and we got it done," Thomas said after Baltimore's 30-16 win.
Thomas and Carroll walked past each other after the game without stopping or saying anything to each other. Thomas joked with Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner at midfield and swapped jerseys with quarterback Russell Wilson.
"I hold Earl in high regard, man," Wilson said. "I really love him. Just how much he's meant to my family, his family and everything else, and what that means and then also just to the Seahawks organization and what he's meant ... he played really good today, he played great, he was battling out there, back-and-forth ... Earl's one of the best to ever do it."
During the game, Thomas jawed at the Seahawks sideline after Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters returned an interception 67 yards for a touchdown.
"You knew I was going to say something," Thomas said with a smile. "I definitely said what I had to say. It was between me and them."
Thomas was welcomed with a mixture of cheers and boos during the game. He heard some fans say how much they missed him, and he signed a couple of his Seahawks No. 29 jerseys for fans.
But one fan outside the Ravens' tunnel entrance waved a sign that read: "The Ravens are slow and big like Earl."
"I know he's seen it, too. It was big," cornerback Marlon Humphrey said before adding, "The Seahawks moved on from him. I think everyone knew they felt like he didn't have it anymore. It wasn't, like, a happy go-away. It was more like, 'You don't got it anymore. We don't really want you.' We felt like it's just a game, but for Earl, it's a little bit more."
Thomas said he only heard about the sign, and it didn't have anything to do with the victory. He finished with five tackles, and most importantly, he helped Baltimore hold Wilson to 20-of-31 passing for 241 yards.
"Earl had a great game," coach John Harbaugh said. "And it meant a lot to Earl. Earl didn't have much to say. He just wanted to go 'do.' I think he played great. No big plays. Nothing over the top, Earl and Chuck both. Earl was back there, patrolling the back end. A couple of critical tackles. I mean, sometimes you forget about the safety when he's doing his job so well."
Lamar Jackson, who had 116 yards rushing and 143 yards passing, told Thomas, "We going to win for you. I'm going to put you on my back and put the team on my back if I got to, and we are going to win."
After the game, Harbaugh presented the game ball to Thomas, and the players huddled around him.
"I appreciate you all," Thomas told his teammates. "You all said you had my back, and you all really had my back, coaches included."
ESPN's Brady Henderson contributed to this report.