BY SPNW Staff 07:23PM 09/30/2018

Earl points out high price of Seahawks’ triumph

Overshadowing a last-second, 20-17 victory over winless Arizona was the broken leg of Earl Thomas, who is done for the season and contemptuous of Seahawks management.

RB Mike Davis goes airborne to score Sunday at Arizona. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

BY TERRY BLOUNT

As he was carted off the State Farm Stadium field in the fourth quarter Sunday with a broken leg, Earl Thomas gave the one-figure salute to the Seahawks bench, a symbol of all that has gone wrong between the star free safety and the team.

But as the game clock flashed :00, Sebastian Janikowski was mobbed by joyous Seattle teammates, redeeming himself with a game-winning 52-yard field goal on the final play, a hope of what still can go right in 2018.

What a whipsaw of emotions on a day when the Seahawks improved to 2-2 and found a way to defeat the Arizona Cardinals 20-17 (box).

Mike Davis, a surprising starter at running back, scored two touchdowns and rushed for 101 yards on 21 carries, the second consecutive game with a 100-yard rusher for Seattle.

Russell Wilson became the winningest quarterback in franchise history with 75 victories, passing Matt Hasselbeck. And coach Pete Carroll tied Mike Holmgren for the most team wins at 90.

Earl Thomas sends a message to the Seahawks bench.

A happy ending, but a sad loss of another team icon.

Thomas could become the third member of the Legion of Boom whose career with Seattle came to an end at Arizona because of injuries. Both CB Richard Sherman and SS Kam Chancellor played their final games in a Seahawks uniform the past November in Glendale.

Now Thomas, with a right lower leg fractured on a failed attempt to deny a tying touchdown pass, also may be through as a Seahawk.

“My heart breaks for him,’’ Carroll said after the game. “It’s a bittersweet day.

“I love Earl. I’ve always loved him, everything he’s ever done for us, everything he’s stood for.”

The grim outcome is exactly what Thomas feared, the reason he held out all summer. In the final year of a $40 million, four-year deal, he wanted a contract extension before returning to the team, which would provide some guaranteed money against injury.

He didn’t get it. So he returned ahead of the season opener, saying he would remember being disrespected. He was reportedly fined after missed two practices before the Dallas game last week, but had two interceptions in the victory.

Sunday morning, Ian Rapaport on the NFL Network reported the Seahawks wanted two second-round draft choices to trade Thomas. Obviously, that won’t happen now.

So Thomas, knowing his worst fears had come true, left the field Sunday with a message for Seahawks management. He looked across the field and gave the finger, a photo gone viral on social media.

Carroll said he didn’t see it.

“Something was said, but I don’t know anything about that,’’ he said. “Earl was extraordinarily poised on the field. He knew what happened. It just breaks my heart we’re talking about this right now.”

Thomas wasn’t the only loss. Rookie TE Will Dissly also left the game on a cart with a leg injury.

Wilson’s first comments after the game were about Thomas.

“He is one of the greatest players to ever play the game and he’ll come back strong,’’ Wilson said. “It’s an unfortunate situation but we all love him. He will come back at some point and be better.

“I hope I get to play with Earl again. I love who he is as a person. As fans and as people, we sometimes forget this is our livelihood. You hope to play it forever, but it’s never forever. I do believe for Earl it’s not over.”

To set up Janikowki’s winning kick, Wilson led the Seahawks on a seven-play, 31-yard drive. The 19th time Wilson led Seattle to game-winning drive at the end came after veteran Phil Dawson missed a 45-yard field-goal attempt on Arizona’s final drive with 1:50 left.

The Seahawks wasted numerous opportunities. Janikowski missed two first-half field goal attempts (38 and 52 yards) and the offense was 0-for-10 on third down.

Sunday started with a surprise when the Seahawks announced starting RB Chris Carson was inactive due to a minor hip injury disclosed only Friday, presumably providing for the coming-out-party for rookie first-round pick Rashaad Penny.

Instead, when Davis opened, you almost could hear the collective “what the . . . ?” from Seattle fans. No worries, 12s. Davis helped save the day.

“Mike played a great football game,’’ Carroll said. “So competitive and so tough. He found out at the stadium he had a chance to start. We didn’t want to put Rashaad out there without any warning. Mike is the kind of guy we like having on our club.”

Davis started the final five games of 2017, but he was a long shot to make the team when training camp started.

“My mindset is, don’t be denied and believe in yourself,’’ Davis said. “I have great family behind me. And I trust and believe in what we can do up front. We’re just imposing our will that we can run on anybody.”

Penny also ran well with 49 yards on nine carries, part of the Seashawks’ season-high 171 yards.

Those were the highs. The low was the reality that one of the best to wear a Seahawks uniform probably played his last game for Seattle. And he made his feelings clear.

———————————-

Terry Blount (tblountsports.com) is a former ESPN reporter and analyst and a regular guest host on Sports Radio 950 KJR.

 

 


YourThoughts

  • Ron

    That’s karma, Earl, amid a self-fulfilling prophesy. Should have been at practice strengthening the bones.

    While I applaud the Seahawks for not giving him the contract, I find it incompetent that they couldn’t make a deal to trade him.

    Poor time management by Pete again leaving them with only on timeout at the end of the game. Poor play calling, third down and one, and a failed pass play.

    In the words of Bucs Coach Dirk Koetter, “We should fire every person that was on that field today, starting with me.”

    It’s time to move on from Pete.

    • jafabian

      IIRC the Seahawks want a minimum second rounder for Earl. They probably won’t take one from a team where it will probably be a low one. He’s one of the best safeties in the game. You don’t sell a Ferrari for the price of a cheap used car. I’d think that the Khalil Mack trade has made the Hawks dig in their heels.

      • Ron

        it was a second rounder, but then this past week it jumped up to two second rounders as was reported on NFL Network yesterday. That’s on Schneider.

        • Chris Alexander

          I suspect the reality is that it was 1 second rounder if the team on the other end of the trade was expected to pick high in the round and 2 second rounders if the team was expected to pick low in the round – i.e. 1 if it’s the Raiders, 2 if it’s the Rams (not that we would ever have traded him to a division rival).

          Not that any of that matters now since the Hawks couldn’t trade him for a pint of beer at this point.

    • Tman

      who might you suggest?

      • Ron

        Chris Petersen

    • Chris Alexander

      “Should have been at practice strengthening the bones” … really? I must assume that you skipped every one of your anatomy classes in school and never read any medical journals. Earl skipping practice is actually the correct choice if the goal is to avoid BONE injuries. Sigh.

      • Ron

        Maybe perhaps if Earl had been at training camp and practices he wouldn’t have been out of position on that play, and the unfortunate play would not have unfolded with the same outcome.

        • Chris Alexander

          I don’t think his injury was the result of his being out of position on the play, it was just bad luck.

          IMO that stadium is jinxed and we should consider forfeiting future games that are played there – in back-to-back seasons we lost our “big 3” from the LOB – Kam, Sherm, and Earl + a promising rookie (Dissley) and that’s not even considering the Super Bowl we played there. One of the commentators on the postgame show yesterday joked that we need to burn the stadium down. I’m not a fan of arson but I would have gladly traded a loss last season to keep Kam and Sherm healthy and would have done the same yesterday for Earl + Will.

  • Kevin Lynch

    It was sure a good thing that Arizona dropped so many passes and that their kicker matched the Hawks kicker in missing kicks. Oh fer ten on third downs? Brutal. And here comes the best team in the NFL – the Rams. I’m changing my pre-season guess of 9-7 to 6-10. When a team’s best defensive player flips off the coach after breaking his leg, it puts it all in perspective somehow. Interesting how Earl enjoyed the Arizona players giving him a pat on the back. But there goes the $10 million per year contract for Thomas. Injury prone? Instant Karma – when you put your greed ahead of the team.

    • Ron

      Our defensive line put no pressure on Arizona, particularly on the play Earl fractured his leg. Imagine if we had money to pay for a decent pass rush instead of a few greedy players. I don’t understand how greedy players can consider themselves “team players.”

  • coug73

    The best FS in football has played his last game for the Seahawks, I’m sad to see it. Get well soon Earl.

    • art thiel

      Both sides rolled the dice. Both lost.

      • Chris Alexander

        The same could be said with Chancellor. Extending a player or not extending them is always a roll of the dice and the view of the dice results can change in an instant. It’s unfortunate but … it is what it is.

  • jafabian

    Earl giving the finger to the bench is nothing new. Marshawn used to do it with regularity when he thought the play should go to him. Basically several times a game. Historically the team is pretty thick skinned though now he’s going to have to rethink his strategy. After this injury IMO the team willing to pay him the most and extend him the longest might be the Seahawks. If that’s the case he’ll have to take what he can get. Hopefully he won’t have the Latrell Sprewell attitude that earning less than $20 million annually won’t be enough for his family to live on. Be sad if the last image we remember of Earl in uniform is on a cart holding up a finger.

    As far as the game goes, at least the Hawks got the win. The defense looked strong though in the second half Rosen began to slowly carve up the secondary. It’s going to be difficult to make up for the loss of Dissly. So if Davis runs for 100 yards and Carson does the week before will Penny be next up? Russ still doesn’t seem entirely comfortable. I question if he’s looking for Jermaine, Paul or Jimmy to throw to. Or if he questions just where his Super Bowl O-Line went to.

  • WestCoastBias79

    I grow weary of pyrrhic Glendale victories. That was about as fun to watch as a swift kick to the… No third down conversions, an offensive game plan from the dark ages, Russell Wilson being ground down into a game manager… I watch Sean McVay run the Rams offense and it’s like watching a different sport. What a brutal end to an era.

  • 1coolguy

    0-10 3rd down conversions – wow, that says it all. I put that at the feet of Shot, as his 3rd down plays called were horrible, the worse being 3rd and one and PASSING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    When we were moving the ball well on the ground!
    How about an option – I trust the ball in W’s hands when he is running.

    • tor5

      I gotta second that. After all the great running, they set up with an empty backfield on 3rd and 1. In what world does that make sense? Can some football genius explain this to me?

    • ll9956

      I am very hesitant to ever criticize a play call, mostly because an OC has but a few seconds to make a decision (although I’m sure they do think ahead). That said, I can’t help but be reminded of the play call that must not be mentioned.

  • Tman

    What insurance is there and what will the insurance cover in Earl Thomas’ case? What insurance was he asking for in his extension request?

    • art thiel

      Clubs and individual players have policies regarding injuries, but it’s not part of the negotiations. It’s a relatively fixed cost for both sides.

  • Matt Kite

    It’s tough to watch Earl go down with another season-ending injury. I feel bad for the man. That said, I can’t relate to his attitude. If memory serves, his contract was for $8 million this season, which is the final season in a four-year, $40-million deal. That’s more than most of us will make in several lifetimes. Yes, he’s putting his body on the line. Yes, it’s a brutal game. But again, he’s being fairly compensated for those risks. Most of us will work well into our golden years, if not all the way to our graves, and will never know that kind of wealth. Nor will we have the opportunity to move into other fields such as broadcasting based largely on our celebrity status. I can’t really empathize with his holdout or his disgruntled behavior since returning to the team. All of that said, I hope he’s able to heal and return to playing next season (ideally as a Seahawk, but that seems highly unlikely).

    • art thiel

      Most fans have trouble relating to athletes’ salaries to their own. What I say is that these guys know that they have to make in a few NFL seasons enough to last them and their families a lifetime. They know very few of them will make a financially successful transition to civilian life, and now that CTE is a likely outcome, those lives likely will be shorter and more miserable than yours.

      • Chris Alexander

        You stated what I was thinking in much better terms. Personally, I’d love to get just one of Earl’s game checks but I wouldn’t subject myself to the risk he takes for all of his checks.

      • Matt Kite

        Agreed wholeheartedly. But $40 million in four years isn’t enough? And that’s on top of whatever he made in his first five seasons (and whatever he’ll make with his next contract, assuming he doesn’t retire). I’d like to think that if I was making that much to do what I love, I’d feel nothing but gratitude to the universe, to my fellow players, and to the organization that was writing the checks. But maybe my ego would be running the show, as seems to be the case with most of these amazing athletes.

        • jafabian

          These are young men whose first full time job is the NFL. They don’t understand the reality of an income that isn’t in the millions or its lifestyle. Blame the NFL for creating that or even fans for wanting a team that is a winner and demanding something be delivered to make it happen. IMO, if CTE is a concern, get out of the game. Millions of dollars isn’t worth it.

          • Matt Kite

            Good points, jafabian. Maybe someone else can weigh in here, but please tell me that the NFL offers some financial classes/counseling to its players as part of their introduction to the league (and as part of their ongoing employment). I’d be shocked if they’re not getting really good advice.

            I’ve always had relatively modest needs and material desires, so it’s hard for me to imagine what I would do with $40+ million (the first couple million is fairly easy, but it gets harder after that — unless you start thinking about worthwhile charitable organizations to donate to).

          • Ken S.

            Money does funny things to people, even very good people. In 2011 long time friends of mine won a huge (92m after taxes) lotto prize. These were down to earth people living a fairly simple retirement life, much like mine, until that money arrived. In the ensuing 7 years they have alienated the good friends of 10 20 and 40 years by simply ignoring them. So now ‘J’ is laid up with a stroke and nobody goes to visit him, and the last time I heard, his wife ‘C’ was screwing our golf pro.I guess deep down I always knew big sums of money isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And lest you say I’m a bad friend for not visiting ‘J’, our last conversation went like this: Me: Hey ‘J’, lets play a round. ‘J’: Can’t, got too much to do. Maybe another time. Me: Give me a call when you have the time… That ‘time’ has never come. Life for me hasn’t changed in the ensuing 7 years. Except I have different golf partners now. They have the time. And I’ve known these people for over 40 years.

          • Matt Kite

            Damn. Thanks for sharing, Ken. I guess there’s no telling how I’d react if I won the lottery (or was suddenly the best safety in the NFL). It’s very possible I’d just buy more expensive problems…

          • Kirkland

            There is the league-wide rookie symposium where the draftees attend lectures aboutbdinance, dealing with the public, what can and can’t get you sued, etc. However, some former players think that because the draftees are so focused on making the roster, all that info goes in one ear and out the other.

            Also, I would not be surprised if some players thought financial planners approaching them were just more leeches trying to get their hooks onto them/their money. It’s hard to know who to trust when you come into a lot of cash; heck, I know of an NHL player whose parents sucked up his earnings so much, all of his paychecks for the entire SEASON were garnished.

          • Archangelo Spumoni

            Coach Herm used to speak at the symposium you mentioned and he told them to get a phone–a special model with a giant “DON’T HIT SEND” button.

          • jafabian

            I know all the major US professional sports leagues offer financial counseling but that doesn’t mean all of them heed it. They’re told they’re invincible and given millions. Not a good recipe. Remember when Chris Carter was speaking at one and he was telling rookies that they need to get posses and make sure one of them is willing to be a Fall Guy if necessary? There’s part of the problem.

  • rosetta_stoned

    Karma.

    • art thiel

      Bullshit.

      • Chris Alexander

        Can I +1 your bullshit comment about a billion times?

      • Ron

        Karma is real. Ask Paul Allen. A couple weeks ago he gave $100,000 to
        republicans to help them retain control of Congress. Now today he
        reports his cancer has returned.

        • tor5

          Go easy, Ron. Let’s not lose our humanity.

          • Ron

            If you believe in God, then everything happens for a reason.

        • Effzee

          Deplorable.

          • Ron

            I didn’t say I believed. if “you” believe.

          • Effzee

            I meant your comparison to Paul Allen. Deplorable.

          • Ron

            For all the good Paul Allen has done, I find it deplorable that he supports all the scumbag republicans.

          • Effzee

            You’re missing the point. It is deplorable to say that getting cancer is karma for his political leanings. That’s the point.

          • Ron

            Why should we care about a republican’s health when the republicans don’t care about health coverage for millions?

    • Ron

      Karma is real. Ask Paul Allen. A couple weeks ago he gave $100,000 to republicans to help them retain control of Congress. Now today he reports his cancer has returned.

  • Kirkland

    Earl Thomas: Can’t live with him, can’t live without him.

  • Chris Alexander

    I read another article (that popped up on my phone) re: Earl’s “salute” to the Seahawks sideline and the opinion expressed in that article was that a football player expressing their emotion in a moment like that is both understandable and, arguably, “a good thing.” Personally, I understood his reaction and vastly preferred him flip the bird to the sideline over his “retirement” tweet after he broke his leg the first time. At least this time I’m reasonably confident that he’ll return – with something to prove – even if he doesn’t return to the Seahawks.

  • Chris Alexander

    Question for you, Art …

    Obviously the NFL is first and foremost a business and there’s no real incentive (from a business perspective) for the Seahawks to offer Earl a contract extension at this point but, if they did, what do you think the terms of the extension might be?

    From Earl’s perspective, he has to know that his market value took a substantial hit yesterday. Yes, he’s a HOF-caliber player but he’s also going to be 30 years old next season with 2 broken legs over the previous 3 seasons and close to as many games missed as games played over that period.

    To my way of thinking, it sends a message to Earl, to the team and to the fans if the Seahawks “do the right thing” and make a legitimate effort to bring Earl back next season (preferably announcing that sooner rather than later).

    Contract-wise, my thought is that they could offer Earl a 3-year contract with a $10M signing bonus and reasonable base salaries (say $1M in 2019, $2M in 2020, and $3M in 2021) and then per-game incentives of ~$500k per start. Assuming he stayed healthy and played all 16 games each of the next 3 seasons, that would put the value of his contract at $40M over 3 years which, if I’m not mistaken, is about what he wanted anyway ($13.33M avg.) while also protecting the team in case he’s hurt again.

    He would be giving up some guaranteed money (at most, his guarantees would total $16M whereas Eric Berry’s contract has ~$30M in guaranteed money) but he would be the highest paid safety on a per-year basis (if healthy).

    Would Earl sign an offer like that? I don’t know but I doubt he’ll get a better one on the open market. My guess is that he would end up with another 4-year, $40M contract with ~$20M guaranteed if he signs a deal with another team in free agency.

    Would the team make an offer like that? I don’t know that either – but I’d like to think they would and, as I mentioned earlier, I think it would send a positive message to Earl, the team, and the fans.

  • tor5

    Thanks largely to reading Art Thiel, I appreciate that the team-player-contract nexus is complex and I can often understand why players get disgruntled. But I can’t abide that bird to the sideline. Yes, Earl gave his all to the Hawks. But the Hawks also gave him an environment in which to thrive. Would Earl be Earl if he didn’t come up with Pete and the Hawks? No one can know for sure. But you’d think the experience is worth more to Earl than an F-You.

  • Ken S.

    Thomas’ flipping off the Seahawks bench was highly disrespectful, yet he’s carping about being disrespected? Hey Thomas, that’s the pinnacle of hypocritical action. Right now I don’t care if he never puts on another Hawks uniform.Trade him, please!