BRADY HENDERSON

Pete Carroll gets a chuckle out of Earl Thomas’ retirement mention: ‘That was classic’

Dec 5, 2016, 11:56 AM | Updated: 12:05 pm
After breaking his leg in Week 13 of last season, Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas tweeted that a l...
After breaking his leg in Week 13 of last season, Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas tweeted that a lot was running through his mind, including retirement. (AP)
(AP)

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll didn’t have any update on the status of free safety Earl Thomas when he joined “Brock and Salk” Monday morning. He did provide some context for what Thomas tweeted after leaving Sunday night’s game with a broken leg, when he wrote that there was a lot running through his mind, including the possibility of retirement.

“That was classic,” Carroll said with a laugh. “I thought that was classically, totally unpredictable. You would never think a guy would go there, and that was just great Earl.”

O’Neil: Seahawks lose the free spirit of their defense with Thomas out

Thomas, 27, went down in the second quarter when he collided with strong safety Kam Chancellor while breaking on a deep pass over the middle. He had to be carried to the sideline by Seahawks trainers then left the field on a cart for further evaluation, which revealed a fracture. While the first of his two tweets sounded ominous – the other was a joke about Chancellor owing him a steak – Carroll said Thomas was in good spirits.

“When we saw him at halftime and he was laying down in there and had a boot on and all that, he was cracking some jokes and trying to make everyone feel good because the guys felt terrible,” Carroll said. “Kam felt horrible and he made him feel good and had some fun with him.”

Carroll’s reaction to Thomas’ tweet and the way he described his demeanor give the impression that the retirement thought was more of an impulsive reaction than something Thomas is actually considering. So did comments from teammates Sunday night.

“When you get injured, it becomes very emotional. Sometimes you say things you may not mean; sometimes you say things you might mean,” Chancellor said. “It’s one of those things you just have to let him sit back and breathe, let him sit back and go through his process. People are going to take it how they’re going to take it. At the end of the day, he’s going to make the decision he wants to make, but right now it’s an emotional battle at this moment.”

Cornerback Richard Sherman was asked what Thomas was saying while lying on the turf with trainers surrounding him.

“He said, ‘That was a hell of a break by me.’ That’s what he said,” Sherman recalled. “He said, ‘That was a hell of a break,’ and it was. It was a perfect break. He said, ‘I read that.’ That’s Earl being Earl. He wasn’t talking about the injury at all. He was saying that he read that play, that’s the play he was waiting on and he made a play.”

Carroll said postgame that he didn’t know the severity of the fracture or if Thomas would have any chance to return this season, though he said it’s at minimum a six-week injury.

“No. No updates,” Carroll said Monday morning. “We’ve been communicating a little bit through the night here, but other than that, he’s going to handle this well. He’s going to be fine and he’s going to go to work and help (replacement Steven Terrell) and get him ready and do all that and contribute wherever he can.”

Terrell, a former undrafted player who’s in his fourth season, made his first career start last week while Thomas sat out with a hamstring injury, his first missed game since entering the NFL in 2010. He replaced Thomas Sunday night and got tested right away. Cam Newton found Ted Ginn Jr. for a 55-yard touchdown pass on the first play after Thomas went down. Carroll said Terrell wasn’t the only defender at fault.

“He did fine. He’s doing a good job,” Carroll said. “The one big play, everybody needed to help on that one. Everybody could have made that play, meaning that both safeties and (linebacker Bobby Wagner) back there, all three guys could have made a play on the one touchdown …

“But Stevie’s going to do fine. He’s very disciplined, and that’s really important in our scheme, and he’s really fast. He’s 4.3s, you know. He’s real fast, so that’s why you see him burst, cover the ground that he does. If he can keep doing that for us and make his timely hits, we’ll be in good shape.”

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