PHOENIX — When Kenny Vaccaro was going through a rough patch earlier this season that led to his role being changed by the Saints, he reached out to Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas for some words of wisdom.

A fellow star from the University of Texas, Thomas has developed a relationship with Vaccaro over the years and felt his experiences could help the Saints safety get his season back on track.

“Kenny he reached out to me when he got benched,” Thomas said. “He was real down on himself and I was telling him the story of when coach (Pete) Carroll almost benched me. We played the Giants my rookie year. We got blown out and I was giving up touchdowns left and right. I was just telling him that story, and he felt better just from me being real with him.”

Thomas eventually recovered from his rough start and has emerged as one of the best safeties in the NFL. He’s made the Pro Bowl in each of the last four seasons and was a first-team All-Pro each of the last three.

Watching from afar, he sees no reason why Vaccaro, who is possesses all the ability, can’t harness his skills and become one of the better safeties in the league with some additional seasoning.

“You see it. You see flashes,” Thomas said. “He just needs to understand the correct tempo. He’s very aggressive just like when I was when I was younger, and they’re going to use that against you.”

Vaccaro’s so-called “benching” consisted of him moving from his spot at strong safety to the slot, where he played as a rookie, for a December game against the Chicago Bears. But it wasn’t long before injuries pushed him back to his role as strong safety, where he would have started in the season finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers if he had not injured his quadriceps tendon.

Tom Brady has a cold

Tom Brady is battling a cold.

The New England Patriots quarterback told reporters he fell under the weather late last week is and is still working to get well.

“I’ve had it for four to five days; my kids got sick and my wife’s pretty sick right now,” Brady said. “I brought it, unfortunately, to Phoenix, but I’ll be fine. I’ll be good.”

Brady said he does not expect it to impact his play during the Super Bowl on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

The quarterback also battled a cold before a playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts last season. New England won the game 45-7 but Brady completed only 13 of 25 passes for 198 yards.

Jumping Kam

Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor became a social-media darling during the divisional round of the playoffs against the Carolina Panthers when he twice leaped over the offensive and defensive lines in an attempt to block a field goal.

He was unsuccessful the first time. The second time he achieved his goal, but both plays were negated by penalties. Asked how he was able to make the plays, he credited the Lord for giving him the ability to jump so high and the coaching staff for helping him time the plays.

“It was something the special-teams guys had seen on film, and the holder must have turned his head around. I knew the timing on when to take off, and I jumped after the ball as soon as it was snapped,” he said. “We practiced it twice and it worked perfectly. I trusted my preparation and went with it in the game.”

Same old Lynch

Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch continued his standoff with the media Wednesday.

Sitting at a podium for media availability, Lynch took his seat with several dozen reporters crowding around. They asked questions and he one again repeated the same phrase over and over.

“You know why I’m here,” he said.

At Tuesday’s media day, the same scene played out with Lynch constantly repeating that he was only there so he would not be fined.

The league fined Lynch $100,000 earlier this season for failing to meet media obligations.