Earl Thomas wasn’t about to let a long contract dispute stop him from playing. The “sign me or trade me” talk was more than a serious ultimatum, but it wasn’t about to keep him off the field. Well, both the former All-Pro safety and Seattle Seahawks got exactly what they did not want on Sunday afternoon.
In the fourth quarter of Seattle’s 20-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, the 29-year old Thomas broke his left leg and was carted off the field in an air cast.
Then, the former No. 14 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft from Texas, six-time Pro Bowl selection, and Super Bowl XLVIII champion showed his frustration toward the Seattle organization by flipping off the Seahawks sideline as he left the field.
Was safety Earl Thomas out of line for giving his entire bench the bird? Did the Seattle Seahawks deserve the obscene gesture? Could both be true?
No matter what, if that is the last imagine of Thomas in a Seahawks uniform, which it likely is, that is definitely not how it was supposed to end.
The last true member of the Legion of Boom, after Pro Bowl defenders Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett and Kim Chancellor left this offseason, Thomas was the backbone to head coach Pete Carroll’s defense for years. However, he was upset when he did not get the contract extension and guaranteed money he thought he most certainly deserved.
Still, without a big contract, Thomas played, racking up 22 tackles, three interceptions and five pass deflections in four games. He looked like a player hungry to prove the organization wrong.
It just ended in the worst way possible for both sides.
Thomas will make $8.5 million for this season, which is enough to put him in a different tax bracket, but he now has a leg injury and played while waiting for a contract, and the Seahawks are without one of their best players for the remainder of the season, and possibly forever.
It’s a shame it had to end this way, with a star player giving a middle finger to the organization on national television, but in the NFL, and in business, nothing should be too surprising.