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Thomas Might Be Punt Returner

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Apparently Earl Thomas’ $40 million extension with the Seattle Seahawks did not mean fewer responsibilities on his plate.

Next up for the All-Pro free safety: punt returning?

Don’t scoff. Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday after the first organized team activity of the Seahawks’ offseason program that Thomas would be the first up as punt returner right now. That all could change by the time the Sept. 4 season opener against Green Bay arrives. But for now, the job is Thomas’ to lose.

The question of who will return punts after the departure of Golden Tate in free agency is one of the few the Seahawks must answer this offseason. Tate was a standout for Seattle in that role, but he left for bigger money from Detroit during free agency.

Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith has undergone surgery to remove “loose bodies” from his right ankle but is expected back for the start of the Seattle Seahawks’ training camp in July.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll updated Smith’s status Tuesday following the first organized team activity of the Seahawks’ offseason program. Questions about Smith first surfaced when the Seahawks were honored at the White House last week for winning the Super Bowl and Smith was seen in a walking boot.

Carroll did not go into specifics but said he’ll be available at the start of training camp.

Smith, who started only eight regular-season games last season, had nine tackles, an interception return for a touchdown and a forced fumble in Seattle’s 43-8 win over Denver in the Super Bowl.

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