On Father’s Day, Earl Thomas III, Golden Tate III, Walter Thurmond III and Percy Harvin III are honoring and remembering those who had their names before they did.
Earl Thomas has looked at Father’s Day from both sides now.
The Seahawks’ All-Pro free safety became a father last year, when his daughter, Kaleigh Rose, was born.
“It’s crazy how you have a whole kind of different view of things when you’re in that type of situation now, when you’re the father,” Thomas said. “You have to wonder, ‘OK, am I going to be a good father.’ But then you find out it just comes naturally to you.”
Father’s Day already held added meaning for Thomas, who was named after his father, who was named after his father – and Earl’s grandfather. But Earl Thomas III is only one of four Seahawks players with that distinction. The same 2010 NFL Draft that delivered Thomas in the first round also brought Golden H. Tate III in the second round and Walter Riley Thurmond III in the fourth round. Percy Harvin – or William Percival Harvin III – was added this offseason. Harvin was acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings for – what else – three draft choices.
“It’s always meant a lot to me because of what has been before me,” Thomas said of carrying on the name – his name, but also their names. “When you have a guy like my grandpa, who really had custody of the whole family, he started it off. He was Earl I, if you want to call it that. Then there’s my dad, who is a Jr.
“Just two great men who really set a great example for not only me but my brother, my sister, my whole family. I definitely felt pressure just to want to try and live up to what they’d already done.”
Thomas’ late grandfather actually had custody of an entire community as the pastor of the church his family attended.
“That’s the crazy thing about it,” Thomas said. “I feel like my life had been blessed way before I even knew it. My grandfather always used to speak great things about me even when I was a youngster. He would never admit it, but I probably was his favorite grandchild.
“Of course it had a lot to do with my name, but I used to travel to different churches with him. It was just me and him in the car, one on one. He’s one of the reasons I have ‘III’ on the back of my jersey.”
During his first three seasons with the Seahawks, Thomas had that “III” designation only one his practice jersey because the league would not allow it on his game-day jersey. But the arrival of Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III last season changed all that. Now Thomas will have “Thomas III” on the back of all his jerseys.
“It’s a dedication to my grandpa, and everything that he’s taught me,” Thomas said. “I know he’s watching down on me, so I just try to be the best person I can.”
Like Thomas, Harvin also has fond memories of his grandfather, in part because he never had a close relationship with his father.
“I was pretty young, so I don’t remember too much about it, but my mom said he took me with him everywhere he went,” Harvin, a wide receiver who also plays running back and returns kickoffs, said through a smile. “He took me to his favorite restaurant to eat. He took me fishing. He took me to work with him.
“So I just always felt something strong with him, just because he was the one who took care of me a lot when I was young. My grandfather stood for the right things. So I definitely enjoy being a third. I feel you’re kind of unique from everybody else.”