Report: Earl Thomas not at Seahawks’ facility for OTAs
Seahawks All Pro safety Earl Thomas has been absent from Seattle’s early voluntary offseason activities, adding fuel to speculation that he could hold out of training camp until he and the Seahawks reach an agreement on a contract extension.
But ESPN’s Brady Henderson, who reports that Thomas was absent from the team’s facility ahead of OTAs Monday, says there isn’t much cause for concern until mandatory workouts begin.
“Pete Carroll when he was asked about it a couple weeks ago at the end of the rookie minicamp, he kind of indicated that he didn’t expect Earl to be there for the rest of the voluntary stuff,” said Henderson during an interview with Brock Huard and Mike Salk on 710 ESPN Seattle Monday morning. Henderson later reported that Thomas wasn’t at the team’s facility this afternoon.
This series of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) are voluntary and continue through next week. The team’s first mandatory practices begin with a minicamp on June 12-14. Missing those three days would leave Thomas facing a fine of around $85,000.
As Bobby Wagner alluded to on @710ESPNSeattle, Earl Thomas remains away from the team as #Seahawks OTAs begin. It's voluntary and they'd planned as if he might skip it. Under contract for $8.5M in 2018. My understanding is there have been no negotiations and none on horizon.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 21, 2018
“If Earl Thomas wanted to make a point, I could see him missing that,” Henderson said. “I could also see a case where maybe he shows up but he doesn’t actually practice, doesn’t take part in the workouts. I think Michael Bennett has done that in the past, at least for some of the OTAs. And then also, you look back at the history, the two guys that have held out under this regime, Kam Chancellor and Marshawn Lynch, those guys didn’t actually hold out until training camp. The point being, I could kind of see it going either way.”
Thomas was the subject of trade talks heading into the NFL Draft, but those have since cooled. In late April, Seahawks general manager John Schneider told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny, Dave and Moore that he was told Thomas wouldn’t hold out from required offseason activities. (And again, those won’t kick off until June 12).
“I don’t think that’s something John Schneider would make out or stretch the truth there,” Henderson said. “I think there’s reason to believe that. And if (Thomas) is there, even for the voluntary stuff, I think that would be a good sign.”
‘He needs to know we appreciate him’
Thomas’ teammate, Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner, joined Huard and Salk for an interview Monday morning and offered unprompted praise of the veteran safety before jumping off-air.
“Before we get off, I would like to take this time to shoutout to Earl Thomas,” Wagner said. “I think he’s an amazing player, he’s an amazing person, he’s a Hall of Famer. And just let him know that we’re over here and we’re wishing for the best in that situation and we’re thinking about him. And I just want him to know that…
“Just because he needs to know,” Wagner said, when asked why he offered that sentiment. “He needs to know that we appreciate him over here. Because he’s a talent that – you’re not going to ever see another person like him ever again play the football field.”
Wagner’s comment echoes those of other teammates who have voiced their support for Thomas during his ongoing contract dispute with Seattle.
The Seahawks have previously extended select players in the final year of their respective deals (including Michael Bennett, Marshawn Lynch and Kam Chancellor) but earlier comments from Schneider indicate the two parties are not currently in contract negotiations. If no deal is reached, Thomas is set to play out the final year of his 4 year, $40 million contract and will become an unrestricted free agent in 2019.