Earl Thomas

USA Today

Earl Thomas Gives His Sideline The Bird

That was one hell of a statement.

October 01, 2018 - 12:01 pm
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What happened for the Seahawks, was not the most predictable thing ever. Because while they won the game, they lost Earl Thomas, most likely for the season, with a broken leg in the third quarter. The truth of it is, they lost Earl Thomas a while ago, when contract talks went nowhere. That’s when they lost Earl Thomas, it just became official yesterday.

And what really, really became official was how Thomas feels about the team, because as he was being carted off, he gave the middle finger to the Seahawks sideline. That was one hell of a statement. Ever seen an injured player flip off his own coaching staff and front office coming off the field. I haven’t. That was definitely a first. 

Thomas was not available to the media after the game, so he did not explain the gesture, but unless I’m really, really wrong, he doesn’t have to. That was a literal bleep you to the Seahawks. Not the players, the organization. 

Thomas held out, he reported, he played, he played well, and then he gets hurt. As Bobby Wagner said afterwards: "I think that's the crazy part of our business. If he doesn't come, then he's not a team player. If he does come and he gets hurt, then it's, 'He shouldn't have come.' So it's a position that we get put in often and it's an unfortunate situation."

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Because as Earl Thomas and Le’Veon Bell, and pretty much every NFL player will tell you, there are two things guaranteed in the NFL: injuries and non-guaranteed contracts. 

And he just got the former. And it sucks. And he’s pissed. And I get it. 

Pete Carroll claimed he didn’t know what the gesture was about: "I don't know anything about that. It's a big stadium. I don't know where it was aimed at. Earl was extraordinarily poised on the field. For what just occurred to be so clear and so resolved to -- he knew what happened. But he was so poised and giving back to the players and all of us. So I don't know what happened after that." 

What is he talking about? Your star player is flipping off your sideline and you’re talking about the size of the stadium, poise, and giving back to players? The hell. No serious, Peter what the bleep are you talking about. 

Don’t get it twisted. Pete Carroll is a very good coach. Even arguably, one of the best. You don’t have the kind of success that he had, turning around USC and Seattle, without being damn good at your job. 

But that is one whack answer. Even for a guy as weird as Peter. And further illustration of just how weird everything has gotten with the Seahawks. A few years ago, they were the gold standard, not just in terms of talent, but in terms of how the team worked with talent. Now their star player is flipping them off as he rides off on an injury cart. Uh-oh! So not only do they not have one of their best players, but they no longer have that chip as trade bait.

Things have fallen so far, so far for this team. The Seahawks still have some guys from those teams, but this Seahawks team isn’t those Seahawks team. This team is weird. It’s uncomfortable. It’s about as weird and awkward as Seabass wearing Seahawks gear. I still can’t wrap my dome around that. 

But know this, even with a win, yesterday was the final nail in that coffin. The Legion of Boom is dead. And it happened on the same field where Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor were injured last season. And where Russell Wilson threw that interception in the Super Bowl a few years earlier. You know, the pick that took the Seahawks from a dynasty to a disaster. I have never seen a single play haunt a team the way that play has haunted this team. 

That field has been a house of horrors for the Seahawks. Injuries to Sherman, Chanceller, and Thomas. The worst play call in Super Bowl history. And now Thomas flipping the ultimate players coach the ultimate statement on the way off the field. 

Thomas didn’t want to be there. Seattle didn’t want to trade them. And now neither one gets what they wants.