BY Art Thiel 02:37PM 12/26/2017

Thiel: Carroll unfazed by Earl’s ‘come get me’ flap

Calling the “come get me” remarks unfortunate and unusual, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll didn’t seem too perturbed by Earl Thomas. But Thomas didn’t get why it was a big deal.

FS Earl Thomas made an ill-considered point about playing someday for his favorite childhood team, the Cowboys. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest file

Surprised as were many Seahawks fans when Earl Thomas said “come get me” to Cowboys coach Jason Garrett after Seattle’s 21-12 win Sunday in Dallas, Thomas was just as surprised at the tempest caused by his remarks, according to coach Pete Carroll.

“He was blown away,” Carroll said Tuesday on his weekly ESPN 710 radio show. “He couldn’t believe it . . . If he had another chance, he wouldn’t say that again.”

Carroll said he’d heard shortly after the game what Thomas had done, visiting the home-team tunnel post-game to seek out Cowboys WR and close friend Dez Bryant. Apparently spontaneously, he encountered Garrett, telling him that if the All-Pro free safety were to become available, “If y’all got a chance to come get me, come get me!”

The tunnel video and audio quickly made the rounds on Twitter. Carroll said he was the first person post-game to talk about the episode to Thomas, a Texas native who grew up idolizing the Cowboys. The pair sat on a bench in the visitors locker room.

“I’d heard it our locker room,” Carroll said. ” I said, ‘Do you realize what just happened?’ He said, ‘No, what do you mean?’ He didn’t think he did anything wrong at all. He was having fun, really excited about the game, rubbing it in a little bit, having a good time with it. He said something into the future. When you read it, it comes across bad.

“He was really concerned about our fans. That was his first thought: I don’t want to make them think I don’t love being here. He said (post-game in the Seahawks locker room) what he could say to try to clear it up.”

Thomas told Seattle reporters his reference was to a future moment if and when Seattle “kicks me to the curb.” He said he’s happy with the Seahawks, but in 2o18 he’ll be in the fourth and final year of a $40 million deal that made him the NFL’s highest-paid safety at the time.

The Seahawks have a policy of waiting until the final contract year begins before talking extensions with core players, although they agreed late in 2016 to an extension for DE Michael Bennett. Thomas indicated nothing was new on discussions for an extension, and was plainly agitating for an improvement.

While Carroll called Thomas’s remarks “unfortunate,” and his foray into the opponent’s precincts “unusual,” he didn’t sound concerned enough to suggest publicly he was going to do something about it.

“I’m up in arms,” he said sarcastically. More seriously, he said, “It bothers people, but we’re OK, we’ll get through it. It causes people to have to take stands on stuff. In this day and age (of social media), everything you say, goes.

“In writing, it looks different than when you say it.”

Since the awkward remarks came from Thomas, Carroll was asked if he was a little less worried about it. He laughed.

“We all know Earl’s a wonderful guy and great competitor,” he said. “He sees things a little differently sometimes. He’s as tightly wound as anybody I’ve been around.

“He’s introspective. He’s very quiet. He doesn’t say much. He’s not a guy that expresses himself very often. When it does come out, you say, ‘What was that? Where’d that come from?’ But he’s awesome, in his way.”

Thomas, 28, was just named to his sixth Pro Bowl, and has been named All-Pro three times. After an uncharacteristic mediocre game against the Rams, Thomas led Seattle with 11 tackles Sunday in helping hold the Cowboys without a touchdown and eliminate them from the playoff race.

The “come get me” drama adds another chapter to the eccentric saga of the Legion of Boom.

Two years ago, SS Kam Chancellor surprised everyone when he held out of training camp and missed the first two regular-season games in an attempt to get a better contract. But he had zero leverage and eventually returned with no revised deal.

Last season, Richard Sherman’s testy relationships with coaches and media were part of a season-long tension that had the Seahawks willing in the offseason, by GM John Schneider’s own account, to trade arguably the NFL’s best cornerback.

Obviously, Chancellor and Sherman both returned to the fold and played well. But both also were seriously injured this season, which makes their unstated point that “NFL” to players has always stood for Not For Long.

A player who doesn’t seek every means to improve his financial situation at the height of his prowess may well regret the oversight, however uncomfortable it may make hometown fans.

Arians calls Clink ‘home field’; Carroll says bring it on

Bruce Arians, who may be coaching his final game with the Arizona Cardinals, is helping make the event more memorable than usual.

After the Cardinals beat the Giants 23-0 Sunday to go to 7-8, he told his players about their season finale in Seattle:  “We know that’s our home field. We’re goin’ up there to kick their ass.”

He’s referring to his 3-1 record as Cardinals coach in Seattle, which included a 34-31 win a year ago that denied Seattle the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, and the bye and home field advantage that comes with it.

After Carroll heard the widely played audio Tuesday, he chuckled.

“Bruce gets to say whatever he wants, man,” Carroll said. “He can say whatever he wants. Bring them on. Let’s go. We’ll go play some football on Sunday and we’ll figure it out.”

Carroll figures his players have already heard Arians’ words.

“They might have some fun with that, I don’t know,” he said. “I would imagine they would.”

Arians neglected to mention the Seahawks are 4-0-1 since 2013 in the Cardinals’ home in Glendale.

Arians may not have to worry about long-term consequences of trash talk. Pro Football Weekly reported Tuesday that he and the club have agreed to part ways after five seasons and a 49-30-1 record, tied with Ken Whisenhunt for the most wins in franchise history.

Arians, 65, is a prostate-cancer survivor and has had other health concerns that have led to season-long speculations about his future.

Arians quickly and mockingly dismissed the report Tuesday.

“If you want to ask me about this fake news story that has come up – I’m quoting the president now – nothing has changed. I don’t know where all that s—t came from,” Arians said, laughing. “Nothing has changed for the last month and a half and everybody keeps asking the same question.”


YourThoughts

  • Ron

    Be careful what you wish for, Earl. Look how well that turned out for Marshawn and the Raiders.

    • Howard Wells

      Marshawn is extremely happy to be fulfilling his life’s dream….to be playing for his home town team….I admire him for making that choice and for his contribution to Seahawk history. Earl has the same wish but expressed it in a very unique way…not one that will endear him to us Seahawk fans.

      • Ron

        I don’t know the Raiders, but do recall they good last year (12-4) and were Super Bowl favorites going into this season. Not sure Marshawn’s dream was to turn his hometown team into losers (6-9).

        http://raiderswire.usatoday.com/2017/06/08/raiders-tied-with-fourth-best-odds-to-win-super-bowl-52/

        • art thiel

          It might be that the Raiders have more than one player on the team, and perhaps some of them underperformed.

      • Kevin Lynch

        Marshawn may be fulfilling his dream, and look, he’s up to 4.0 on his rush average! But it may be only for one more game. His arrival at raider camp has presaged his team’s doom. Not sure that will go down well with the bosses. And it’s all about connecting with the bosses, boss. Meanwhile I’m thinking Earl may get that Hawk extension, based on his play, and not be playing with his buddy Dez, who was awful Sunday and will not likely be back with the Boys next year.

      • art thiel

        Lynch had the retailer’s appreciation for not pissing off the fans. He pissed off Carroll, but it took five years to break the relationship.

        Earl doesn’t think that far ahead. He’s more about impulse.

        • lb

          Carroll and his OC pissed off Marshawn and every fan.

    • art thiel

      Lynch is happy playing in his hometown before the Raiders leave. He has his ring and his money. Now it’s for fun.

  • jafabian

    Sounds like spin to me. Expect no less.

    • art thiel

      But who is spinning? Carroll or Thomas?

  • Steed

    I’m unfazed by this too. I might even be immune to fazing, when it comes to off the field sports stories.

    Arod said all the right things in his last season, then he left, and everybody hated him for it.

    Earl spoke honestly about what he would want if the team cuts him loose. Which they may have to do if they don’t want to pay huge money for him. If the team was on a Superbowl trajectory, I might think that this is the kind of distraction they don’t need. But even then, it’s not a big deal. Not to me anyway.

    Remember when people were all excited about Sherman screaming on the sidelines? This is like that, for those who have the bandwidth to get excited about it.

    As for Arians, what a wonderful knuckleheaded blowhard clown he is. He and Elliott should get together and write a book about how to motivate your opponents.

    What’s the name of the hockey team going to be?

  • Chris Alexander

    I think Earl (and many of his teammates) sense what we as fans sense – that the front office may have to shed some high-priced veterans to retool the team for sustained longevity. And I think that Earl (and many of his teammates) HOPE that isn’t the case (much like we fans do) and PRAY that they’re not one of the casualties if the team does go that way. As mentioned by others, Earl is impulsive and often speaks without thinking of the long-term consequences and I believe him when he says that he wants to stay here but that if he’s forced to leave that he wants to play for his hometown team in Dallas. To me this is only a story because people (namely the media) like to make the Seahawks seem like a dysfunctional family that’s on the verge of imploding. Honestly, I think this drama will just help strengthen their resolve (i.e. remind them that this may be their last game together and that some of their key pieces may be moving on come season’s end).

    Personally, I’d hate to see Thomas go and I would be SHOCKED if the team didn’t resign him since he’s the single biggest key to their defensive success. Sherman needs to stay as well. Kam could go and, although I personally like him, I think that’s as close to a done deal as you get with a player that’s still under contract. We have a decent replacement for him on the roster and the way he plays is catching up to him. It would be a painful cut (or trade) but …. it’s going to happen. And it may not be the team’s choice anyway, given his current injury. Bennett …. he’d be a loss, especially if Avril’s injury prevents him from returning. But I get the sense that the team wouldn’t mind losing his outspokenness and off-field drama. He’s the key to our D-line but he’s replaceable. As long as you’re not having to replace him AND Avril. Wagner has to stay. Wright too. And Clark – which I might not have thought, let alone said, a year ago; he’s been pretty stellar this year though and has a very high ceiling.

    On offense, I suspect we’ll move on from Graham (although I hope I’m wrong because I think he and Wilson will only continue to grow together if the team keeps him around). Doug has to stay and I’d like to see Lockett and Richardson stay too but I won’t be surprised if we move on from one or both of them. I don’t think we should but I also think we need some better weapons and their holds on their spots are far from rock solid. Oh, and of course Wilson has to stay at QB for like the next 120 years. That’s just a given.

    • art thiel

      This is certainly not a media fabrication. Thomas admitted what he said. No one stirred the pot but him via a poor negotiating tactic. Thomas needs to take responsibility for his own recklessness.

      Obviously, he’s the key player and because of his relative youth and talent, is worthy of keeping. Chancellor and Avril seem likely candidates to retire, but it means walking away from large coin they’ll never earn elsewhere.

      Bennett’s outspokenness is bringing him and the franchise honor, not shame.

      Remember: We’re all replaceable.

      • rosetta_stoned

        Bennett’s outspokenness is bringing him and the franchise honor, not shame.

        You just keep telling yourself that.

        • art thiel

          And you keep staying in the 1950s.

      • DB

        Sure, we’re all ‘replaceable’. The thing is really that the talents of some folks simply can’t be replicated with any replacement. We need look no further than you, Art, as an excellent example of that. When you decide to hang up your cleats you may be substituted for, but there will no replacing you. No doubt, some would say the same about their favorite Seahawk player(s).

        • art thiel

          Well, cheap flattery will get you everywhere. You win. Thanks.

    • Husky73

      Just another example of Carroll’s liaise faire (sp?) attitude with his players. He should have reined in his players at USC (“I didn’t know”), and he should have reined in numerous Seahawks, especially over the past two seasons.

      • Steed

        Nah. A coach cannot follow his players around all day. How is a coach going to stop someone from handing Reggie Bush a handful of 100 dollar bills? You may as well say Reggie’s english professor should have stopped it, he had the same ability to do so.

        • Husky73

          I disagree. When you are the coach of the most famous college football player in the country, and he shows up with a new car and a new home for his family….you are either blindly ignorant or completely out of touch with your team. Either way, you are guilty of negligence.

          • art thiel

            Lots of college kids wind up living large through “gifts” laundered through people close to the player that are neither traceable nor violations of NCAA rules. The system is more corrupt than the Pentagon.

            As far as Carroll’s pro career, his methods have proven to work. Do they work all the time? No. You are judging him on the few flops and not the successes in managing 70 young men at a time who are suddenly wealthy for the first time, most of whom will be out of that lucrative line of work in less than three years. It’s a mind-blower few talk about.

  • John Brown

    Earl is the key to our defense. You saw what happened when he went out last year. He has what cannot be coached, speed, instincts, and desire. I say extend him for another 3-4 years. Kam and Sherm are great, and missed, but Earl is a future first ballot HOF’er.

    • art thiel

      True. All three are rare talents, but Earl is slightly younger and more likely to be closer at the top of his game. Sherman and Chancellor had the back luck of serious injuries in their near-primes.