Earl Thomas has never missed a game in his seven NFL seasons. That’s 118 consecutive starts for the Seahawks to begin his career.
Coach Pete Carroll made it sound Monday morning Thomas’ streak is in jeopardy.
Carroll said of his weekly day-after-game radio show on Seattle’s 710 AM his three-time All-Pro free safety has a “first-degree” hamstring strain that usually take 10 to 14 days to heal.
Seattle (7-2-1) next plays in six days, at Tampa Bay (5-5).
A first-degree strain is the slightest of three degrees in assessing the injury. Carroll said starting cornerback DeShawn Shead, who also left Sunday’s win over Philadelphia without returning, has the same injury as Thomas.
“We’ll see what happens,” Carroll said on Monday’s “Brock and Salk” morning show.
Asked if he expects the intense Thomas to lobby to play, Carroll said: “He’s smart. He’ll go if he can. We’ll find out. We really won’t know until all the way at the end of the week.”
Thomas left the win over the Eagles early in the third quarter after he pulled up from running and grabbed his left hamstring as teammate Richard Sherman was intercepting a pass from Carson Wentz. Thomas and Sherman were in double coverage on a deep post route by Philadelphia’s Bryce Treggs.
It was Thomas’ 43rd and final play of the game.
Thomas went to the the training table behind the Seahawks’ bench for examination, then after a couple minutes got up and walked away, as if readying to go back in the game on the next defensive series. A team doctor talked to Thomas, apparently about the value and wisdom of getting more treatment and stretching on his hamstring -- because Thomas then went back to the training table for that before sitting out the final 1 1/2 quarters.
Steven Terrell, a veteran special-teams mainstay, replaced Thomas. Terrell ended up playing 37 of Seattle’s 80 defensive snaps against the Eagles.
The coach said the team did not yet know how long running back C.J. Prosise would be out with his scapula injury in his shoulder. Making his second consecutive start as lead back, the rookie third-round pick had a 72-yard touchdown run on his second carry but got hurt getting banged trying to catch a short pass on the third-to-last play before halftime.
“We don’t know how long it’s going to be,” Carroll reiterated Monday morning.
Running back Thomas Rawls played 40 snaps Sunday in his return from being out two months with a cracked fibula. Carroll said Monday morning Rawls was banged up and will need to manage his week to be ready to play at Tampa Bay.
“I played 40?” Rawls said, his voice rising. “I am not sure if that was in the game plan. Like I tell you guys, whatever it takes. And with the mentality like that, and my work ethic, it doesn’t matter.”
It was not the plan. But the Seahawks had to keep Rawls in a 26-7 game late because rookie Troymaine Pope got a high-ankle sprain in the second half.
“In the meantime, I am going to have to hold down this backfield,” Rawls said.
Yes. Yes he will. It appears it will be Rawls and mothballed rookie Alex Collins as the running backs Sunday against the Buccaneers.
Carroll told 710 AM the same thing he’s said for a week now, that Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett is pushing to play this weekend, three weeks after his arthroscopic knee surgery. Carroll said it could be this week or next for Bennett’s return.
Bennett is a former Buccaneer who has been outspoken about how backwards his time from 2009-13 was in Tampa Bay. So he’s extra motivated to get back to playing this week more than next.