Contrary to reports by ESPN and ProFootball Talk, Earl Thomas' recovery from labrum surgery isn't taking longer than expected, Field Gulls has learned.
Rather, today's reports were a deliberate effort by the Seattle Seahawks to quell resurgent rumors that Thomas is, in fact, not human.
Field Gulls was the first to report that Thomas was suspected of being an extraterrestrial back in the 2013-14 season, citing numerous leaked government interviews and photographs.
Those documents included information about Thomas' supernatural speed and dexterity, and Area 29, the section of the field that Thomas patrols on defense — where numerous passes and offensive players have vanished during his career.
Rumblings about Thomas' otherworldly origins resurfaced this past year during the NFL playoffs. No. 29 injured his shoulder in the first half of the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers.
But when Thomas returned after halftime and leveled Green Bay's Eddie Lacy with the same shoulder he had hurt, the nation's community of alien researchers perked up once again.
That Thomas subsequently played in the Super Bowl weeks later aroused even more suspicion.
"Listen, I'm as skeptical as they come," said an unnamed scientist at NASA's SETI Research Division, responsible for conducting the nation's ongoing search for extraterrestrial lifeforms. "But how does a human being make a play like that, right after suffering an injury that's supposed to take eight months to recover from, and then play in the Super Bowl afterward?"
"He doesn't," said the source, scoffing. "Not if he was born on the third planet of our solar system."
That planet is Earth.
The most damning evidence about Thomas was provided by another anonymous source: an X-Ray of Thomas' shoulder, taken earlier in the summer at the University of Texas, Austin.
The source, a radiologist at the hospital, confirmed she had never seen anything like it over her decade-long career.
"There was a talon-like extension in Thomas' shoulder," she said, "and it appeared to be retractable. What the **** is that?"
A copy of that X-Ray was obtained by Field Gulls. Don't ask us about HIPAA.
Residents of Orange, Texas — Thomas' hometown and offseason residence — reportedly witnessed Thomas training all summer long, saying that he appeared 100 percent healthy as early as March.
By June, Thomas was participating in what one person described as "personal Ironmans," literally running his own triathlons in the hundred-plus degree Texas heat.
"You ever seen the Ironman?" asked the Orange native, who wished to remain anonymous, primarily to ensure he would still be invited to town events hosted by Thomas. "Someone swims 2.2 miles, bike another 112, and then runs 26.2 after that. That's what Earl's been doing every couple days. In just about 90 minutes. Maybe less."
Asked if he thought Thomas was human, the man laughed.
"Shoot," he said, "how could a man do that?"