The official word on the leg injury that knocked Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas out of Sunday night’s game against Carolina is not good. Thomas has what was announced in the press box as a lower-leg fracture. Coach Pete Carroll told radio sideline reporter Jen Mueller at halftime that it’s a cracked tibia.
Carroll was less specific after Seattle’s 40-7 win, saying that he wasn’t sure of the severity of the injury or if Thomas has any chance of returning this season. He said it’s a six-week injury at minimum. Even that would be a significant blow to Seattle’s defense given that Thomas is arguably its best and most irreplaceable player.
Thomas left in the second quarter when he collided at full speed with strong safety Kam Chancellor while nearly intercepting a deep pass over the middle. Replays showed Chancellor’s right knee hitting Thomas’ left shin. Thomas stayed down while being tended to by Seahawks trainers, who had to carry him off the field after he was unable to walk on his own.
“He broke his leg tonight. I don’t know what that means, but it’s always six weeks anyways,” Carroll said. “I don’t know how severe it is, but it was very unfortunate. He ran into Kam. Kam’s made of steel, so that’s gonna hurt and it sure did.”
Thomas left the sideline on a cart and minutes later sent out two tweets (in violation of NFL rules), the first of which referenced the possibility of retirement. It read: “This game has been so good to me no regrets.. A lot is running through my mind including retirement thanks for all the prayers.”
His next tweet had a much different tone: “Kam you owe me a steak. Haha”
Seattle allowed a 55-yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton to Ted Ginn Jr. right after Thomas left. He was replaced by Steven Terrell, who also started at free safety for Seattle last week against Tampa Bay while Thomas was sidelined with a hamstring injury. That marked the first time Thomas missed a game since entering the league in 2010.
Here was Carroll on Thomas’ injury and what he saw from Steven Terrell, who suddenly becomes a very important part of Seattle’s defense: pic.twitter.com/87eiY0x71h
— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) December 5, 2016