Ravens Release Earl Thomas

What happened to this guy?

Jim Rome
August 24, 2020 - 10:08 am
Earl Thomas

USA Today

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Hey, quick question – the hell happened to Earl Thomas? No, seriously. What the hell happened to Earl Thomas?

We’re talking about not only a truly great player, but a great leader and teammate.  Essentially, everything you look for in a player and a guy. Or at least we thought so. You know me, I’m the first one to say, we really don’t know any of these guys. But as it relates to this guy, I bought in. For sure. 

Then you see how His time ended in Seattle … with him flipping off Pete Carroll as he was carted off the field. Obviously, he suffered a significant injury and was caught up in the moment, but that’s the one image that’s burned into and our mental hard drive, off a great run in Seattle?  Him flipping off peter while being carted off?! Of never expected to see that guy, do something like that.  

And then he signed with Baltimore last year and it seemed like the perfect fit. 7-time Pro Bowler and future Hall of Famer joining up with one of the best organizations in football and one with a reputation for great defense. No brainer. 

The Ravens convinced him to sign with them over Kansas City and agreed to a 4-year, 55 million deal. And now, one season later, they’re cutting him.

The team tweeted yesterday: We have terminated S Earl Thomas’ contract for personal conduct that has adversely affected the Baltimore Ravens.

Not only are they releasing him a year after signing him, they’re looking at taking a 15 million dollar cap hit to do so. Do you know how toxic you have to be for a team to be willing to eat that much money just to get rid of you?

And this isn’t just some random team, this is a team with Super Bowl aspirations. And this isn’t just some random scrub, this is a 7 time pro bowler. You’d think they’d want all the talent and options they can find, but in the case of Thomas, they said, nah, we’re good.  Hit the bricks. You’ve already done enough damage to this locker room and this franchise. 

So I ask again, the hell happened to Earl Thomas? Well, one answer would be that on Friday he got into a fight in practice. Look, that’ll happen. It’s kind of a training camp tradition. Guys from the offense and defense get locked up, there’s some shoving, maybe a punch or two, and if you’re really lucky, someone takes off a helmet and starts using it as a weapon.  c’mon, man, on some level, the coaches actually like it.

And it happens. It happens to us all.

Except this wasn’t that. According to reports, Earl Thomas didn’t get into a fight with someone on offense. He got into a fight with someone on defense.

That’s right, according to reports, safety Earl Thomas punched safety Chuck Clark. Uh, what? How the hell does that happen? The hell are you doing punching guys in your same position group. 

Well, funny you should ask. Because after he was kicked out of practice and sent home, Thomas jumped on Instagram and posted video of the incident. He wrote, in part: "Being sent home sucks. I can't take the reps I need to keep momentum going. But I can reflect on things and keep working my plan to help the team win."

And then added: "A mental error on my part. A busted coverage that I tried to explain calmly [met] with built-up aggression turned into me getting into with a teammate."

Okay, if that works for you, Earl. Problem is, it didn’t seem to work for his teammates.  . Because as Jason La Canfora tweeted in part over the weekend: Sources said the team's Leadership Council made it clear to decision makers they would prefer Thomas not be around. Cap hit could be issue but "conduct detrimental" clause provides Potential Avenue for relief”

He also reported: There was a strong push from Ravens vets to get rid of Thomas and make DeShon Elliott a starter. Ravens believe they have a case enact default language in Thomas contract for conduct detrimental after latest incident, swinging on teammate Chuck Clark...

Just for the record, the team would rather have DeShon Elliott, who has played in just six games in two seasons than Earl Thomas. And Earl’s former teammates would rather roll with Elliott than with the 7-time Pro Bowler.

And as bad as that is for Earl’s look, there’s one more tweet from JLC: Thomas has sent home since that incident and his departure - through trade or release - viewed as a big addition by subtraction in that locker room. Players not willing to put up with churlish behavior they tolerated in 2019 in his 1st season with Ravens

I mean, damn.  We really, really don’t know these guys.  Hell, these guys really don’t know these guys. Because obviously the Ravens had no idea who or what they were getting in Thomas.  oh….and major, major, shoutout to JLC for working “churlish” into a tweet. That is outstanding work.

And secondly, from the sounds of it, this wasn’t an organization-led decision, it was a player led decision. It was the other players saying get this guy out of here and the team had no choice but to agree.

Again, what does it say about Earl Thomas that his teammates are saying, please get this guy out of here?

It definitely says this isn’t just one fight in practice. It goes back to being churlish last year. And they are sick of him. That’s an amazing fall from grace.

And by the way, when we’re asking the question what happened to Earl Thomas, let’s not forget about that truly weird incident earlier in the offseason. I cannot begin to summarize that incident involving Earl, his wife Nina, and his brother Seth, in a matter of sentences, but the report from TMZ included the following lines:

“Nina says she used Earl's Snapchat account to track his location to a nearby Airbnb rental home ... and says she called up two other women to help her confront Earl at the pad. Nina also claims she grabbed Earl's pistol, a 9mm Berreta, in the process with the intention to "scare him."

Do I have your attention? Because here’s another sentence from the TMZ report.

When the women arrived at the house, they "discovered Earl and Seth naked in bed with other women."

And here’s yet another.

That's when Nina admits she pulled out the gun and put it to Earl's head -- stating "that she took out the magazine thinking that the gun could not fire." But, cops say Nina was "unaware that the gun had a round in the chamber."

I could keep going, but I’ll only read one more: “In an interview with Earl's alleged mistress at the scene, she claimed Nina also threatened her and the other woman in the house -- pointing the gun at them and yelling "I got something for all you hoes!"

And let me remind you that all of this took place during a global pandemic. So let me ask you again, what the hell happened to Earl Thomas?

And I know the Dallas Cowboys are the likely landing spot and maybe that works out. But I’d say buyer beware. Because he’s just had a couple of really ugly endings with two of the best organizations in the game. And he had the really bizarre incident with his wife and his brother.