10 best Texas football football NFL careers

Earl Campbell
Earl Campbell / George Gojkovich/GettyImages
9 of 11
Earl Thomas
Earl Thomas / Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

. Teams: Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens. 3. 36. Earl Thomas. Earl Thomas. Earl Thomas. . NFL: 2010-2019. player

Seven-time Pro Bowler Earl Thomas was one of the best defensive backs in college football in the late 2000s, helping the Longhorns reach the 2010 BCS National Championship Game during his junior campaign.

After three impressive and historic seasons as Texas's top safety from 2007 to 2009, Thomas was selected by the Seattle Seahawks 14th overall in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Thomas broke onto the scene immediately as a special safety in the NFL.

As a rookie, Thomas was a gamebreaker for the Seahawks' secondary, registering five interceptions, seven pass breakups, and 76 tackles. Thomas's star ascended in the early-to-mid 2010s as a multi-time Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection over the next few seasons.

Thomas and fellow Seahawks starting safety Kam Chancellor made a name for themselves with the infamous Legion of Boom throughout the 2010s. In 2013, the Seahawks defense emerged as one of the league's most dominant units with the foursome of Thomas, Chancellor, and cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner roving the secondary.

The Seahawks led the league in passing defense in 2013 and 2014 and led the league in interceptions in 2013. Thomas had five of the Seahawks' whopping 28 interceptions on defense during the 2013 campaign.

After a few seasons of improvement in the early 2010s, the Seahawks finally reached the pinnacle of football in 2013. Thomas and Sherman led the Seahawks' top-ranked defense, while second-year quarterback Russell Wilson instrumented an effective air attack, to a 43-8 romping of the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl in 2014.

The Seahawks nearly repeated as Super Bowl Champions in 2014. But the all-too-well-known gaffe by the Seahawks to pass the ball on the goalline against the Patriots instead of handing the ball to Marshawn Lynch cost them the game late in the fourth quarter.

Despite the disappointment in 2014, Thomas and the Seahawks defense remained one of the NFL's most dominant units in the mid 2010s. Thomas unfortunately suffered a shoulder injury in 2015 that ended his postseason run with the Seahawks.

A hamstring injury further limited Thomas in 2016, missing a handful of games late in the regular season.

Thomas played a few more seasons in the late 2010s with the Seahawks and one with the Baltimore Ravens in the late 2010s. He remained one of the league's best and most consistent safeties in the late 2010s, even in his one year with the Ravens in 2019.

Locker room issues wound up causing a rift between Thomas and the rest of his teammates in Baltimore. An altercation between him and teammate Chuck Clark caused Thomas to be released during the 2020 preseason. He hasn't played a single NFL game this decade.

Nonetheless, Thomas was a superstar safety who was consistently among the league's top defensive backs in the 2010s. He was a seven-time Pro Bowler and a five-time All-Pro selection. He was also named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame All-2010s Team.