ARLINGTON, Texas There is only one Earl Thomas.
Or do you know of any other three-time All-Pros who walk into the opposing locker room of a team he just defeated and tells its coach "come get me" away from the other, victorious team that pays him?
That’s what Thomas did in the moments following the Seahawks’ 21-12 victory at Dallas on Christmas Eve that revived their season—and followed their years-long pattern of sideshow drama.
Thomas’ intensity and individuality, his pride and his play make him immensely popular around the Seahawks and across the Pacific Northwest.
But Texas is where Thomas’ home--and apparently his heart--is.
Thomas, who grew up five hours east of here in Orange, Texas, said he was going into the Cowboys’ locker room after Sunday’ game to talk to friend Dez Bryant, Dallas’ star wide receiver. While there, Thomas saw Cowboys coach Jason Garrett.
"I’ve always been a Cowboys fan growing up,” Thomas said. “The biggest thing is when I said ‘come get me,’ I mean, I don’t literally mean ‘come get me now.’ I’m still in the prime of my career. I still want to be here.
"But 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."
Thomas turns 29 in the spring. He has one year remaining on his contract. It’s clear he wishes the Seahawks, the only NFL team he’s played for, would have at least talked by now about extending his deal for a second time. But the Seahawks rarely do that to guys with more than one year remaining on their deals. They waited until August on Chancellor’s contract year this past summer before they gave him $25 million guaranteed in an extension for a 30-year-old fellow “Legion of Boom” member of the defensive secondary, whose career is now in doubt because of a season-ending neck injury.
The Seahawks also have three-time All-Pro Richard Sherman’s contract expiring as the cornerback comes off a torn Achilles tendon next season. They have salary-cap concerns and decisions to make on whether to re-sign Jimmy Graham, who caught his 10th touchdown pass of the season on Sunday.
They have major contract issues and decisions with those stars whose deals expire before Thomas’.
Not that their six-time Pro Bowl safety wants to wait.
Asked if he growing signs the Seahawks may not want him around much longer, Thomas said: "I don’t know. But if they don’t, you know, please come get me."
Thomas signed a four-year, $40 million extension before the 2014 season. He played this season coming off a broken leg that briefly had him considering retirement the night it happened in December 2016. He is due $8.5 million next year, well below value in a safety market that has long since surpassed his contract.
Is Thomas happy in Seattle?
"Hell, yes, I’m happy here," Thomas said. "I love being here. This is where I started. I built my resume here. I’ve got Kam (Chancellor) and Sherm, coach (Kris) Richard (Seattle’s defensive coordinator and his former defensive-backs coach). I don’t want to leave."
Asked if he wished the Seahawks would have talked to him already about an extension, Thomas said, "Yeah. That would be a great Christmas present.
"I don’t know. I’m just going to keep ballin’. And hopefully they see the value."