RENTON Earl Thomas has support inside the locker room--the Seahawks’, not the Cowboys’, that is--for wanting a contract extension pronto.
“Yeah,” Seattle Pro Bowl outside linebacker K.J. Wright said Wednesday, three days after Thomas went to the Cowboys’ locker room following Seattle’s win at Dallas and told Cowboys coach Jason Garrett to “come get me.”
“Give this man a seven-year deal so he can stay here. Then the last year he can go to Dallas. ... He’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Maybe when it’s year 15 or 16 he can go over there to Dallas.”
Wright said that with some his characteristic dry humor.
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But there is truth in what he said relating to what Thomas wants. Relating exactly to what he wants, in fact.
The three-time All-Pro and Pro Bowl free safety for the sixth time this season doing what he did on Christmas Eve at the Cowboys’ locker-room door, plus his explanation about a half hour later Sunday inside the locker room--the one of the team that has him under contract through next season--shows Thomas wanted the Seahawks to have at least started discussions on an extension by now.
Or that he wants talks to start immediately, as he heads toward the final year of his deal. That’s been the time Seattle has typically re-done deals, when it has, under general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll since 2010. That was the year they drafted Thomas in the first round out of the University of Texas and the town of Orange, Texas, about a five-hour drive southeast of Dallas.
Thomas explained on Christmas Eve in Arlington, Texas, what he meant in talking to Garrett was: “When Seattle kicks me to the curb, please, the Cowboys, come get me. That’s the only place I’d rather be, you know, if I get kicked to the curb.”
By the time the Seahawks were getting on their plane to fly back to Seattle Sunday night, Thomas’ teammates were well aware of what he did and said. The 2017 players scroll through their social-media feeds on their smart phones in the locker room as soon as games end.
Was Wright like you and most of the Pacific Northwest? Did you wonder, what in Hades was that all about?
“I didn’t wonder that You know, Earl is a unique individual,” Wright said, accurately.
“And I love him. Like most people, a lot of guys, we grew up as Cowboys fans. And so he just got real emotional. He’s saying towards the end of his career if something have to happen, come and get me. I knew what he meant. When it came up initially I was a little confused. But when he explained himself I understand what he meant.”
Wright clarified Thomas did not explain himself to his teammates, which is not surprising given how quiet and to-himself he often is around them off the field.
“No, he didn’t explain it to us,” Wright said. “Coach (Pete) Carroll explained it, so we got it then.
“It’s no big deal.”
That’s basically what Carroll said on Tuesday.
“I sat with Earl afterwards and he was like, ‘What do you mean?’ He didn’t think he did anything wrong. He didn’t know,” Carroll told Seattle’s KIRO-AM radio, while calling what Thomas did and said “unfortunate.”
“He was just having fun, and he was really excited about the game and he got, you know, a little bit rubbing it in a little bit, you know, and have a good time with it.
“And then he just said something into the future. And it comes across, you know, when you read it, it comes across bad. But, if he had another chance he wouldn’t say that again.”
“He was really concerned about our fans. That was his first thought: ‘Geez, I don’t want them to think that I don’t love being here,’ and all that.
“So he said what he could say to try to clear it up on that.”
That’s the spin.
Wright’s words assuredly reflect the true feelings of many veterans who have played with Thomas for the entirety of this five-year run of playoff appearances with two Super Bowls--a run that’s in danger of ending Sunday. It will unless Seattle (9-6) beats Arizona (7-8) at home and Carolina (11-4) wins at Atlanta (9-6) at the same time Sunday afternoon.
Those teammates don’t want Thomas’ seven-year run in Seattle to end with it.
Thomas, who turns 29 in May, doesn’t want to become the first piece of the Seahawks’ championship core dismantled.
Or if he is--be it this offseason, after his contract runs out this time next year, whenever--the native Texan has now made it clear he wants to become a Cowboy.