Yes, minutes after a key victory on the road, Earl Thomas was essentially lobbying another team to snatch him up. Even for the famously filterless free safety, that was crossing a line.
ARLINGTON, Texas — He wore a crown while reciting his wedding vows. He hugged a referee after a touchdown. He once described his life as “basically a big chunk of greatness.”
Seahawks fans have grown accustomed to Earl Thomas doing bizarre things over the years, and most of the time it’s charming. What he did Sunday, however, was not.
After Seattle beat Dallas to improve to 9-6 and keep its playoff hopes alive, Thomas wasn’t celebrating with his teammates. He was heading to the Cowboys’ locker room to talk to his bud Dez Bryant.
That’s weird in its own right, but it was his comment to Dallas coach Jason Garrett that set the internet ablaze.
“If y’all have the chance, come get me,” he said.
Yes, minutes after a key victory on the road, Thomas was essentially lobbying another team to snatch him up. Even for the famously filterless free safety, that was crossing a line.
It’s hard to think a move like that won’t spike tension in the Seahawks’ locker room. And I can’t help but ask: Why, Earl?
Why create that kind of drama heading into the final game of the season? He couldn’t have thought what he said would go unnoticed.
Opining that Bobby Wagner shouldn’t have played last week due to injury might have caused some friction, but that was just a case of Thomas being brutally honest. This, on the other hand, seemed downright traitorous.
Asked about it after the game, Earl — a Texas native — said the following:
“I mean, we had a great win, I felt like we played lights out. Just, emotional, I went to the locker room to talk to Dez and I saw Coach Garrett, and I’ve always been a Cowboys fan growing up, but the biggest thing I said “Come get me” is, I mean, I don’t literally mean come get me now. I’m still in the prime of my career, I still want to be here, but when Seattle kicks me to the curb, please Cowboys come get me, that’s the only place I’d rather be, if I get kicked to the curb.”
This isn’t the first time Thomas has hinted at discontent with the Seahawks. In an ESPN story that ran last month, Earl said he feels overlooked in general, adding “Even on this team … they don’t respect me like they need to.”
When Thomas signed a four-year, $40 million contract extension in 2015, it made him the highest-paid safety in the league. And in the Pete Carroll-John Schneider era, the Seahawks have never extended a player with two or more years remaining on his contract.
The team isn’t handling Thomas any different from what they have with any of their re-signed stars. So, it would seem Earl’s idea of “disrespect” is not receiving special, unprecedented treatment.
Would you wish they’d talk to you about an extension? asked a reporter.
“Yeah, that’d be a great Christmas present,” said Thomas. “I just keep ballin’ and hopefully they see the value.”
There is no way the Seahawks don’t see the value of the decade’s best safety. Watch Thomas sprint across the field to stuff Rams receiver Robert Woods last week, and you’ll see the 28-year-old is as good as he’s ever been.
Hell, after Earl broke his leg in Week 13 last year, Seattle’s secondary fell apart. But this is a business, and if the Seahawks set a precedent by extending Thomas now, it opens the floodgates for unwanted demands from future players.
To be fair, Thomas did tell reporters Sunday he was happy in Seattle.
He talked about how he built his résumé there, then mentioned Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman before saying, “I don’t want to leave.” He added that “People take life too serious — that’s just who I am.”
And perhaps there is something to that.
At the end of the day, this is just football — and Thomas has a reputation for being direct. But he is also an extremely well compensated athlete who’s revered by teammates and beloved by fans.
Walking into the Cowboys’ locker room and expressing interest in playing for them was as self-serving as it was strange. Want to talk about disrespect? That was the embodiment of it.
|NFC playoff picture|
|Seattle needs help is in its hopes at making the playoffs for the sixth straight season. The Falcons beat the Seahawks earlier this season and own the tiebreaker, so Atlanta needs to lose next week and Seattle needs to win.|
|Philadelphia||12-2||1||vs. Raiders (6-8), vs. Cowboys (8-7)|
|Minnesota||12-3||2||vs. Bears (5-10)|
|L.A. Rams||11-4||3||vs. 49ers (5-10)|
|New Orleans||11-4||4||at Buccaneers (4-11)|
|Carolina||11-4||5||at Falcons (9-6)|
|Atlanta||9-6||6||vs. Panthers (11-4)|
|In the hunt|
|Seattle||9-6||7||vs. Cardinals (7-8)|