Earl Being Earl: What To Think Of Thomas’ Comments

Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas created a postgame stir Sunday when he tracked down Jason Garrett and told the Dallas Cowboys coach, “If ya’ll got the chance to come get me, come get me!”

The comment and Thomas’ situation with the Seahawks deserve a closer look. Here are some thoughts.

Earl being Earl? Thomas is a different guy. He donned a crown and a cape at his wedding. He has referred to his “inner voice” and will share deep thoughts even in casual conversations about football. He hugged an official after a touchdown last season. It’s tempting to dismiss what Thomas did Sunday as a case of Earl being Earl, but it felt different. The timing was bad. Thomas — who grew up in Orange, Texas, and has been a lifelong Cowboys fan — is certainly not the first player to have a strong interest in one day playing for his hometown team. Players usually don’t express that interest to an opposing coach moments after a game while their own team is still fighting for a spot in the playoffs. Thomas deserves credit for not ducking reporters or giving evasive answers to questions about his “come get me” comment. But the comment itself feels problematic.

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Context for Thomas’ contract situation. In clarifying his comment to Garrett, Thomas said he was referring to whenever Seattle “kicks me to the curb,” a phrase he used more than once. Thomas seems to have the impression that the Seahawks may be ready to move on from him. It’s not clear why. He’s signed through 2018 and is still playing at an All-Pro level, so he’s in no danger whatsoever of being released this offseason. Thomas didn’t state explicitly that the Seahawks have yet to begin negotiations on an extension, but his comments strongly implied that’s the case. The Seahawks’ M.O. under general manager John Schneider has been to not sign players to extensions until they’re in or entering the final year of their contract. That’s when they extended the likes of Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor (twice), Bobby Wagner, Doug Baldwin, K.J. Wright and Cliff Avril. Michael Bennett’s most recent extension with Seattle’s current regime was an exception. He signed it last December, when he had just over a year left on his existing deal. So if the Seahawks have yet to start talking about an extension with Thomas, it could simply be in keeping with their preferred way of operating. ESPN

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