Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas spent the first Sunday he had to miss an NFL game watching the NBA and spending time with his family.
Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas hadn’t missed a game since his days at West Orange-Stark (Texas) High School before he was forced to sit out the trip last Sunday to Tampa Bay.
And at first, Thomas wasn’t sure what he was going to do with himself.
“It was definitely hard,” said Thomas, who had started 106 straight regular-season games since being drafted by the Seahawks in 2010 (and 118 including the post-season) before suffering a hamstring injury against the Eagles on Nov. 20 that caused him to miss the game against Tampa Bay.
Thomas’ solution? Take his wife, daughter and brother to Portland to take in a couple of TrailBlazers’ games, including one against “my favorite team, the Rockets.”
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Thomas said watching NBA games “kept my competitive spirit going” during what he called “a tough time. Very emotional.” (Though he got some solace in Houston beating Portland 130-114 last Sunday).
“Just trying to find a way to keep my mind positive,” Thomas said.
As for the Seahawks’ game, Thomas came up with a unique solution for dealing with that, as well, deciding to head to a Buffalo Wild Wings during his Portland trip, watching the game with his wife, daughter and brother, wearing and a hoodie and glasses to stay as inconspicuous as he could.
Thomas said he tried to keep his emotions in check but that proved almost as hard as not playing.
“I was into it,” he said. “You can’t be silent. You can’t hide when you are openly passionate about something like this. People knew who I was but they kind of let me be. But it was definitely hard watching it.”
What helped, he said, was approaching it as though it will be the only game he will miss. Thomas was a full participant in practice Wednesday and spoke briefly before heading out to practice Thursday.
“I knew I was trying to make it back for this week,” he said. “So it helps to be back out there. Was just definitely just weird for me to see the team out there without me. I know it’s not all about me, but I’m a part of the team, so it was definitely weird to see that.”
Thomas said he hadn’t missed a game since high school, having also started all 27 games he played at Texas before declaring early for the NFL Draft. “Against Orangefield,” he said. “Had like a thigh bruise.”
That Thomas was a full participant on practice Wednesday would point to him playing Sunday.
But Thomas said he wasn’t ready yet to declare himself back.
“I couldn’t really go (last week),’ he said. “I’m just still battling right now. So I don’t really like talking about it. I know what’s ahead of me, hopefully. We’ll see.”