Earl Thomas says the Cowboys think he’s about to be traded to Dallas.
At least that’s what the Seahawks’ All-Pro safety said Cowboys coaches portrayed it to him on the field, for whatever reason, before Thomas starred amid his self-created drama in Seattle’s 24-13 victory on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
Did he think before Sunday’s home opener that may be his final game with the Seahawks?
“Yeah, of course. I heard chatter. People were coming up to me and saying that a trade might happen,” Thomas said. “Even pregame a couple of Cowboys coaches were up there, trying to play psychological games, but they were like, ‘Are you ready for the trade tomorrow?’”
Skipping two practices this past week was Thomas’ reminder of his anger, of how he feels the Seahawks have, in his word, disrespected him by not given him the rich contract extension, nor the trade, he’s been demanding for months, through his holdout that ended this month days before the opener. This past week showed he’s trying to be disruptive enough to force the Seahawks to trade him before the league’s dealing deadline of Oct. 30.
Thomas’ comments following Sunday’s game reinforced that.
Asked if he was concerned about the message he’s sending to younger Seahawks by skipping practices, Thomas said: “They know me. When we in a room, it’s straight business. But they also know that I’m going to be me. I’m going to be free. I know who I am in this game, especially this game, I’m not about to let anybody take advantage of my God-given ability.”
And the message he’s sending to fans of the Pacific Northwest and beyond who may think Thomas should honor his contract, do his job, practice with his Seahawks teammates and finish the $40 million contract he signed years ago?
“That’s their mindset,” he said. “Obviously, I put myself in this position. I’m going to do what I want to do.”
He said anything, even a headache, will keep him out of future Seahawks practices, too.
“Practice is a big deal. In my younger days it made me who I am. I always practice hard,” he said. “But I understand now, like especially, I’m going to be careful with myself.”
This may be what the Seahawks get for the rest of this season: Thomas doing what he wants to do during the week, then showing the rest of the league it should pay him top dollar in free agency in March. It still appears it will come to that, barring a Brinks-truck trade offer no NFL team has been willing to make to Seattle.
That is, unless the Seahawks give him the rich contract extension at the 29-year-old Thomas’ top-of-the-market price. Or trade him.
The Seahawks haven’t been dealing with other teams because no team has offered Seattle the first-round draft choice, another top pick and perhaps a player. Not even the Cowboys, whom Thomas famously told Christmas Eve after a Seahawks game in Texas to “come get me when Seattle kicks me to the curb.”
Asked again if he thought this was his final game with the Seahawks, Thomas said: “I don’t know if it was, man, I had a damn good time. I’ll go out like that if I have to.
“I just want to be appreciated. That’s it.”
And Thomas doesn’t feel appreciated by the Seahawks, the only NFL team he’s known since they drafted him in the first round eight years ago, who have paid Thomas $55.9 million in cash since 2010 while he’s won a Super Bowl with them?
“Show me,” he said.
An ESPN report Sunday morning said the Seahawks are considering a “significant fine” of Thomas for him missing practices Wednesday and Thursday.
Pete Carroll, when asked on Sunday, why Thomas did not practice those days, the coach said, incredibly: “I haven’t even talked to him about it, other than we made it through and we’ll talk next week. There’s nothing to even tell you about right now. I’ll let you know next week.”
Thomas said he expects the Seahawks to fine him for missing the practices.
“I probably will. Definitely,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll have a slip in my locker.”
The Seahawks could already be docking him up to $2 million for holding out throughout the offseason and preseason. There are conflicting signs whether the team is holding him to those fines.
After his second interception Sunday, in the fourth quarter to ruin Dallas’ last chance to rally, Thomas bowed in the direction of the Cowboys’ sideline.
“I felt like that was just, you know, in a moment,” he said. “And if they was going to trade for me and extend me, they should have did it.
“I love Seattle. My family is here. I’m hopeful that these guys would call my agent and we work something out. But if not, I want to be taken care of.”
Quarterback Russell Wilson seemed fine with Thomas skipping practices.
“He’s one of the best teammates you could ever have...arguably one of the best safeties to ever play the game,” Wilson said.
“There’s nobody that practices better than him. ...
“In the locker room, we love each other. Earl’s a star, and he’s always worked really hard.
“I’m glad he’s on our team.”
For now, anyway.