Surprised as were many Seahawks fans when Earl Thomas said “come get me” to Cowboys coach Jason Garrett after Seattle’s 21-12 win Sunday in Dallas, Thomas was just as surprised at the tempest caused by his remarks, according to coach Pete Carroll.
“He was blown away,” Carroll said Tuesday on his weekly ESPN 710 radio show. “He couldn’t believe it . . . If he had another chance, he wouldn’t say that again.”
Carroll said he’d heard shortly after the game what Thomas had done, visiting the home-team tunnel post-game to seek out Cowboys WR and close friend Dez Bryant. Apparently spontaneously, he encountered Garrett, telling him that if the All-Pro free safety were to become available, “If y’all got a chance to come get me, come get me!”
The tunnel video and audio quickly made the rounds on Twitter. Carroll said he was the first person post-game to talk about the episode to Thomas, a Texas native who grew up idolizing the Cowboys. The pair sat on a bench in the visitors locker room.
“I’d heard it our locker room,” Carroll said. ” I said, ‘Do you realize what just happened?’ He said, ‘No, what do you mean?’ He didn’t think he did anything wrong at all. He was having fun, really excited about the game, rubbing it in a little bit, having a good time with it. He said something into the future. When you read it, it comes across bad.
“He was really concerned about our fans. That was his first thought: I don’t want to make them think I don’t love being here. He said (post-game in the Seahawks locker room) what he could say to try to clear it up.”
Thomas told Seattle reporters his reference was to a future moment if and when Seattle “kicks me to the curb.” He said he’s happy with the Seahawks, but in 2o18 he’ll be in the fourth and final year of a $40 million deal that made him the NFL’s highest-paid safety at the time.
The Seahawks have a policy of waiting until the final contract year begins before talking extensions with core players, although they agreed late in 2016 to an extension for DE Michael Bennett. Thomas indicated nothing was new on discussions for an extension, and was plainly agitating for an improvement.
While Carroll called Thomas’s remarks “unfortunate,” and his foray into the opponent’s precincts “unusual,” he didn’t sound concerned enough to suggest publicly he was going to do something about it.
“I’m up in arms,” he said sarcastically. More seriously, he said, “It bothers people, but we’re OK, we’ll get through it. It causes people to have to take stands on stuff. In this day and age (of social media), everything you say, goes.
“In writing, it looks different than when you say it.”
Since the awkward remarks came from Thomas, Carroll was asked if he was a little less worried about it. He laughed.
“We all know Earl’s a wonderful guy and great competitor,” he said. “He sees things a little differently sometimes. He’s as tightly wound as anybody I’ve been around.
“He’s introspective. He’s very quiet. He doesn’t say much. He’s not a guy that expresses himself very often. When it does come out, you say, ‘What was that? Where’d that come from?’ But he’s awesome, in his way.”
Thomas, 28, was just named to his sixth Pro Bowl, and has been named All-Pro three times. After an uncharacteristic mediocre game against the Rams, Thomas led Seattle with 11 tackles Sunday in helping hold the Cowboys without a touchdown and eliminate them from the playoff race.
The “come get me” drama adds another chapter to the eccentric saga of the Legion of Boom.
Two years ago, SS Kam Chancellor surprised everyone when he held out of training camp and missed the first two regular-season games in an attempt to get a better contract. But he had zero leverage and eventually returned with no revised deal.
Last season, Richard Sherman’s testy relationships with coaches and media were part of a season-long tension that had the Seahawks willing in the offseason, by GM John Schneider’s own account, to trade arguably the NFL’s best cornerback.
Obviously, Chancellor and Sherman both returned to the fold and played well. But both also were seriously injured this season, which makes their unstated point that “NFL” to players has always stood for Not For Long.
A player who doesn’t seek every means to improve his financial situation at the height of his prowess may well regret the oversight, however uncomfortable it may make hometown fans.
Arians calls Clink ‘home field’; Carroll says bring it on
Bruce Arians, who may be coaching his final game with the Arizona Cardinals, is helping make the event more memorable than usual.
After the Cardinals beat the Giants 23-0 Sunday to go to 7-8, he told his players about their season finale in Seattle: “We know that’s our home field. We’re goin’ up there to kick their ass.”
He’s referring to his 3-1 record as Cardinals coach in Seattle, which included a 34-31 win a year ago that denied Seattle the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, and the bye and home field advantage that comes with it.
After Carroll heard the widely played audio Tuesday, he chuckled.
“Bruce gets to say whatever he wants, man,” Carroll said. “He can say whatever he wants. Bring them on. Let’s go. We’ll go play some football on Sunday and we’ll figure it out.”
Carroll figures his players have already heard Arians’ words.
“They might have some fun with that, I don’t know,” he said. “I would imagine they would.”
Arians neglected to mention the Seahawks are 4-0-1 since 2013 in the Cardinals’ home in Glendale.
Arians may not have to worry about long-term consequences of trash talk. Pro Football Weekly reported Tuesday that he and the club have agreed to part ways after five seasons and a 49-30-1 record, tied with Ken Whisenhunt for the most wins in franchise history.
Arians, 65, is a prostate-cancer survivor and has had other health concerns that have led to season-long speculations about his future.
Arians quickly and mockingly dismissed the report Tuesday.
“If you want to ask me about this fake news story that has come up – I’m quoting the president now – nothing has changed. I don’t know where all that s—t came from,” Arians said, laughing. “Nothing has changed for the last month and a half and everybody keeps asking the same question.”