After being carted off the field with what the team called a lower-leg injury, Earl Thomas hints at retirement on Twitter.
Earl Thomas had been so unsure of how to handle missing the first NFL game of his career a week ago that he decided to take his family on a trip to Portland to take in NBA games and watch the Seahawks incognito at a Buffalo Wild Wings.
So that Thomas reacted to a broken leg suffered in the second quarter of Sunday’s 40-7 win over Carolina that could be season-ending by sending out a tweet in which he said he was considering retiring maybe made some sense.
Certainly, his teammates and coach Pete Carroll said later they thought the tweet spoke more about Thomas himself than his future.
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“I’m not so sure about that right there,” Carroll said when asked about Thomas’ tweet when he wrote that a lot was running through his mind, including retirement. “But I’m not surprised that he said something like that, though. Earl’s apt to say something that might surprise you, and he did.”
According to the NBC telecast, Carroll said the injury was a broken tibia. Carroll after the game said only that it was a broken leg and that any broken leg is “always six weeks anyway.”
Asked if Thomas could make it back this season, Carroll said “I don’t know that. I don’t know.”
Thomas’ tweet, seemed to indicate he thinks he’s done for the season.
“This game has been so good to me no regrets,” Thomas tweeted. “A lot is running through my mind including retirement thanks for all the prayers.”
He sent that tweet before the second quarter had ended. He had been hurt earlier in the quarter when he collided with teammate Kam Chancellor while each was attempting to defend a Cam Newton pass to tight end Greg Olsen.
On the play, which came with 10:40 to go in the second quarter, Newton tried to hit Olsen down the right seam. Thomas broke on the ball from the middle of the field and collided with Chancellor, who was covering Olsen.
Chancellor’s left leg smashed into the Thomas’ lower left leg as the two crossed in front of Olsen.
“It’s football,” Chancellor said. “Accidents happen. You can’t really tell where people are. We’re both trying to make the play. It’s hard to see your brother go down like that.”
Thomas initially had his hands on the ball but couldn’t control it as he fell to the ground.
Thomas at first tried to walk off and then fell back down to the field.
After his leg was examined on the field he was then carried off without putting weight on either leg.
After initially being examined on the bench Thomas was then taken by a cart into the locker room.
“Kam’s made of steel,’’ Carroll said. “So it’s going to hurt, and it sure did.”
Chancellor said he saw Thomas in the locker room at halftime and said “my bad. He was like, ‘It wasn’t your fault.’ We both were out there battling and we play reckless.”
Chancellor said Thomas’ Tweet of thinking of retiring was in part to the emotion of struggling with another injury, and this one the most serious of Thomas’ career —- before last week, Thomas said he had missed only one other game in his life, that coming in high school.
“When you get injured, it becomes very emotional,” Chancellor said. “Sometimes you say things you might not mean; sometimes you say things you might mean. It’s one of those things you just have to let him sit back and breathe, let him sit back and go through his process. People are going to take it how they’re going to take it. At the end of the day he’s going to make the decision he wants to make, but right now it’s an emotional battle at this moment.”
Quarterback Russell Wilson thought it was “just a moment” of emotion for Thomas.
“I think when you have a person that’s so competitive it’s just a little disappointing, you have such high hopes for what the season was going to be and where he wanted to go this season and all those things. Ultimately, Earl Thomas is a winner. He wants to help us win in every way possible and unfortunately he won’t be on the field, but he’s going to help us in a lot of other ways. He’ll help us win through a lot of other ways, through the communication, dedication that he brings.”
Cornerback Richard Sherman said similarly.
“I think all of us think about retirement just about every game,” he said, saying that for Thomas it was an “emotional time. … I would think it’s a little bit of an exaggeration.”
Sherman was among those on the field talking to Thomas as he was down on the ground.
Sherman said Thomas told him “that was a hell of a break by me (on the ball).” Earl being Earl, Sherman said. “He’s in good spirits,” Sherman said. “He’s a strong-willed dude. He’ll be fine.”
Thomas had returned to the lineup after sitting out last week with a hamstring injury, which broke a streak of 106 straight regular season starts that was the second-longest in team history (the record is 121 by offensive lineman Chris Gray).
Thomas was again replaced by Steven Terrell, who had played all of the Tampa Bay game last Sunday.
The Panthers went right after the Thomas-less middle of the Seattle defense on the first play as Newton threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr., breaking behind Terrell and the rest of the Seattle secondary.
“We made a mistake,” Carroll said. “We didn’t have to give them seven.”
Carroll, though, professed confidence in Terrell to fill in for Thomas saying “the first play he was in, they got on top of us and made that big play. The other stuff he had a chance to do after that was very much in line and I thought he did very well. He played well last week in replacing Earl so he’ll be the guy going. We think we can count on him in a big way.”
Said Terrell: “You’d rather Earl not go down like that but at the same time I have a responsibility to step up and come in and make plays. There’s no replacing Earl, but I’m going to try and be the best leader I can be, and I like the results if I continue to put my best in.”
Michael Bennett said it’ll be hard completely replace Thomas.
“You can’t make up for it,” Bennett said. “You just try to find somebody who can do half of what he does. It’s hard to replace a great player, a Hall-of-Fame-type of player. You can’t really replace those.”