Two Former Longhorns Named to NFL's All-Decade Team

Chris Dukes

Former Texas Football letterwinners Earl Thomas (2008-09) and Justin Tucker (2008-11) were selected to the NFL’s 2010s All-Decade Team on Monday. Tucker was one of just eight players overall, and the only specialist, to be selected unanimously out of the 53 players chosen, while Thomas was one of three safeties picked for the defensive team.

At Texas, Thomas was a three-year safety who started all 27 games of his career before declaring for the NFL Draft after his redshirt sophomore season. In 2009, his last season in Austin, Thomas was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, which honors the nation’s top defensive back, and a consensus first-team All-America selection. He posted 149 tackles (101 solo), eight tackles for loss, 10 interceptions, 33 pass breakups, five forced fumbles and blocked a punt during his UT career. The Orange, Texas native set the school’s single-season record with eight interceptions during the 2009 campaign. He was drafted 14th overall by the Seattle Seahawks in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Thomas has played in 10 NFL seasons, spending his first nine with the Seattle Seahawks (2010-18) before joining the Baltimore Ravens in 2019. He has amassed 713 total tackles (497 solo) in 140 career games. In 2013, Thomas recorded a career-high 105 total tackles and matched his career high with five interceptions – a mark he first set during his rookie campaign – while helping lead Seattle to its first Super Bowl title that same season. Thomas also played a key role in the Raven’s secondary in 2019, logging 49 tackles, defending four passes – including two interceptions – and registering the first two sacks of his career. In doing so, he was selected to his seventh career Pro Bowl, the most by a Longhorn. Only five other Longhorns have made at least five appearances in the Pro Bowl. In total, Thomas has defended 72 passes, intercepted 30, forced 11 fumbles and recovered six during his decade-long NFL career.

Tucker, an Austin, Texas native, played in all 52 games during his four seasons on the Forty Acres. He made 40-of-48 (.833) field goal attempts and was 71-for-71 on PAT attempts to log 191 career points. His .833 field goal percentage is tied for the second-best mark in school history. A 2011 second-team All-Big 12 selection, his collegiate career highlight came during his senior season when Tucker made the game-winning 40-yard field goal as time expired on the road at Texas A&M. At the time, it was only the sixth game-winning last-second field goal in school history.

Tucker was an undrafted free agent who signed with the Ravens in 2012. He is currently the most accurate kicker in NFL history (90.8%) and the only player in league history to convert more than 90 percent of his field goal tries (min. 100 attempts). As a rookie, Tucker booted two fourth-quarter field goals through the uprights to help the Ravens defeat the San Francisco 49ers, 34-31, in Super Bowl XLVII. In 2013 – his second NFL season – Tucker made 38-of-41 field goal tries, his career high for converted field goals in a season. He matched his mark three years later while also improving his conversion rate when he made 38-of-39 field goals during the 2016 campaign. Tucker’s 38 made field goals are tied for the sixth-most in a season by an NFL kicker all time, and he is only kicker in league history to make at least 38 field goals in a season on multiple occasions. In 2019, he was chosen to the third Pro Bowl of his career.

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Longhorns in the pros