BY Art Thiel 07:31PM 12/20/2017

Thiel: Wagner contrite, Thomas doesn’t hear him

Aftershocks ripple from the Rams’ beatdown of the Seahawks. LB Bobby Wagner regrets his tweet, says he’s talked it out with Earl Thomas. That’s news to Thomas.

FS Earl Thomas didn’t recall any conversation with Bobby Wagner that sounded like an apology. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

NFL geophysicists are still assessing damage from the Rams’ 42-7 win over the Seahawks at the Clink Sunday. So far no part of the NFC West has fallen into the sea, but power lines seem down in Seattle, and fractures are visible.

There’s one right here.

LB Bobby Wagner said Wednesday his visceral reaction on Twitter to FS Earl Thomas’s post-game remark that Wagner was too injured to play was not good. Handled it wrong, he said.

“We spoke, and we ironed things out like we always do,” said Wagner.

To which Thomas responded Wednesday: Say what?

“Wasn’t no conversation,” Thomas said calmly to reporters at his locker. “It is what it is. Gotta move on. If it’s how you feel, it’s how you feel.”

Well, then. It appears damage was not confined to the scoreboard, the playoff race or the 12s following the biggest margin of defeat in coach Pete Carroll’s tenure by the lake. We appear to have some high school butt-hurt.

The Seahawks’ best two ambulatory defenders aren’t getting along.

It’s hardly the worst thing — the Seahawks have had teammates punching on each other on the eve of a  Super Bowl —  and Wagner, who played on a sore hamstring until five minutes were left in the third quarter of a 40-0 game, took the unusual step of bringing up the tiff himself as he began a weekly chat at team headquarters.

“Did I feel like I mishandled the situation? Yeah,” he said. “There’s a better way. I could have did better. It’s one of those live-and-learn things. It was a frustrating game and situation. The game didn’t go as we planned. Emotions get high, and you can’t always act on them.

“I’m man enough to admit I handled the situation wrong.”

But he didn’t quite bring himself to say, “I apologize.”

In case you missed it, here’s what Thomas said to reporters after the game:

“To be totally honest, I think you have to give your hats off to Wags and a couple guys that played, but my personal opinion, I don’t think they should have played. The backups would have did just as good. The injuries – Kam (Chancellor), Sherm (Richard Sherman), K.J. (Wright) – they definitely hurt today.”

Wagner, who didn’t speak to reporters post-game, tweeted, then deleted, some snark:  “E keep my name out yo mouth. Stop being jealous of other people success. I still hope you keep balling bro.”

Certainly, keeping to balling was the hope of Carroll, who apparently believed the public spat was over.

“They took care of it, two days ago, whenever,’’ Carroll said Wednesday before the differences surfaced. “They’ve already dealt with it.’’

Well, no.

Thomas, who has a reputation for unfiltered comments that rarely contain personal animosity, seemed neither mollified nor agitated.

“Ain’t no patching if that’s what’s in your heart,” he said. “Cool. Let’s finish strong.”

Thomas wasn’t putting the defensive collapse — the Rams’ 244 rushing yards were the most against the Seahawks during Carroll’s tenure — on Wagner’s gimpiness.

“It’s gap integrity — we just weren’t getting there,” he said. “My observation on Wags, he was hurt. It wasn’t just him. It stuck out in my mind. We gotta be gap sound.”

The rift emphasizes the magnitude of the loss for a team that is used to being in every game, even in defeat. As much as coaches and players try to de-emphasize it ahead of Sunday’s game in Dallas against the 8-6 Cowboys, who also share dim playoff aspirations, the Seahawks’ world was rocked by a Rams team that was 4-12 a year ago.

WR Doug Baldwin was willing to concede that’s there’s not been a moment like this in his time in Seattle.

“We’ve have never really had to face adversity in the season like this,” he said. “We’ve had our struggles.  We’ve endured some pretty devastating losses before. But I think just the time frame in which we are in, the situation which we are in, the state of our roster, age-wise, so many different factors play into it.  All of those have implications.

“I think it’s a different place for us. We are looking at it as some more adversity. But personally, I look forward to it because I know adversity only introduces you to who you really are. If we can get through this, then we can really build upon it for the long run.”

Thomas expounded a little on the shock value of the loss and the string of injuries.

“I don’t got my fellas out there with me,” he said. “Everything is different. That blowout loss was different; it don’t happen like that.”

That prompted a question about whether Thomas, 28, contemplates his long-term future with a team that may soon face abrupt decisions about the pre-eminent talents who have sustained the Seahawks’ run of success. He’s signed through 2018 season, but there’s been speculation that Thomas might be trade material to help get the roster younger faster.

Thomas didn’t shy from the speculation.

“I know whoever gets me, I’m balling,” he said. “That’s it. I know I’m hot. It is what it is.”

As a player, Thomas is indeed hot. As a friend of Wagner’s, he’s a little icy. And as a member of the Seahawks, he’s shaken. It will be seen Sunday if all of them are stirred.



  • SalishSea8

    ET missed 5 tackles in just the first half. I think missing his Bros is one thing. But his job is making tackles and stopping the deep throw getting to its target. These guys have made their money and are questioning what retirement is like while not wanting to realize they are the reason the team does not have quality replacements.

    • art thiel

      Thomas didn’t have a game, but he also might argue that he was out of position covering for others.

      These guys are unlikely to admit how draining the PHI and JAX games were for a thin roster.

  • Gary

    Can you feel the churn?

    • John M

      Yes, we may lose a couple of our favorite guys. The Cap monster is no longer callin’, he just kicked the door in. You hope the LOB stays intact, but it’s looking like a cold winter. Hopefully they’ll keep Brown at LT, they won’t find anyone cheaper that can play the position Now. But it’s possible the chatter between team mates is just the residue from a proud team that just got smacked with a super-sized embarrassment . . .

      • art thiel

        Ever have a massive screwup with spouse/boss/kids where responsibility is not readily clear? If you have, that might explain a little here.

        • John M

          Nice analogy . . .

    • art thiel

      I thought we did that with Mariners pitching.

  • Matt712

    It’s been a mix of bad luck, questionable talent evaluation, and even questionable coaching that led to fielding one of the worst position groups in football – making the team unbalanced and laying to waste one of the best position groups in football. And those guys know it.

    • art thiel

      Can’t argue.

  • Husky73

    Just wondering— do other coaches allow media and podium time the way Carroll does? Bennett and Sherman have weekly pressers, the team is all over social media, which fuels the “shut up and play” responses (including myself) from the fans. I am not trying to suppress their freedom of speech, or the platforms they deem important. But, I wonder if other workplaces such as Boeing, Microsoft and Amazon would put up with (encourage) the continual distraction from the job at hand? They are paid millions to play and win football games. Shut up and play, please, and express your views on your own time. (I await the cascade of negative feedback……….)

    • 2nd place is 1st loser

      They’re nothing more than high paid entertainers, a lot of fans want to hear the trash talk and the drama. It’s entertainment, if football ceased to exist tomorrow what would happen? Crickets, “nothing” life would go on. Carry on.

      • art thiel

        In fact, if many things ceased to exist tomorrow, life would go on. Television, radio, religion, museums. And hopefully, Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless.

        • 2nd place is 1st loser

          You left out Joe Buck. Merry Christmas.

    • art thiel

      Player personalities help drive the economic engine, for the team and individuals. How many work-worn shirts have you bought from Boeing, Microsoft and Amazon workers?

      For popular players, the podium saves time during the week by answering all questions from all reporters at once instead of being annoyed by us all week.

      Don’t know what you do for work, but I bet you spend more than 15 minutes a week explaining it to people.

      • Husky73

        The question remains— are the Seahawks different than other teams in allowing the kind of media access (and exploitation) that they do? Do the Kansas City Chiefs have players at the podium weekly? Do the New York Jets have players engaged in text wars? Do the Detroit Lions have public sideline confrontations that are turned a blind eye by the coach and the GM?

        • art thiel

          Yes. Yes. Yes.

          The NFL mandates weekly media availability for head coach, assistants and players. Individual clubs have some control over when and where, but must meet minimums.

          Carroll’s long view is that pushing players toward public accountability is essential for them personally for most post-football opportunities. A life lesson, y’know? He encourages them to get used to being responsible for their words, and not hide behind anonymity that is now, sadly, acceptable behavior on social media and for website commenters.

          Players can decline, as Lynch and Graham often do. But the union will attempt to push them as well.

          You are looking for reasons to criticize Carroll’s methods that are not there.

  • woofer

    Time to retool. It happens. Sentimentality just gets in the way. Ask Belichick about how to do it. Maybe the Hawks can trade their first round pick for a fifth. They draft so much better in the later rounds.

    • art thiel

      With Sherman, Chancellor and Avril seriously hurt, some big changes are inevitable. But trading Thomas at 29 is a bridge too far.