Former Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas broke his left leg last September during the second half of their game against the Cardinals. As Thomas was being carted off the field, he looked in the direction of his team’s sideline and used his middle finger to wave goodbye to coach Pete Carroll. It’s safe to assume there was bad blood between the two.
Earl Thomas, who just recently signed a $55 million 4-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens, told ESPN reporter, Josina Anderson, that he didn’t regret the middle finger he flashed toward his former coach. He went on to say, “If my teammates felt like it was toward them, I regret that part. But I don’t regret doing that to Pete.”
Thomas mentioned that right before he broke his leg in Arizona, he and Pete Carroll had discussed a new contract that would keep him in Seattle. But Thomas felt that something was amiss. He believed that Carroll’s concern for him regarding his injury wasn’t authentic. Thomas said, “I gave Pete the middle finger because I felt like he wasn’t being honest with me.”
While with the Seahawks, Thomas was a force to be reckoned with and was one of the key components to Seattle’s stellar defense. In his nine seasons with Seattle, he went to the Pro-Bowl six times and ranked third in interceptions (28) since 2010. After their Super Bowl victory in 2014, he signed a $40 million contract extension for four years.
However, getting paid doesn’t mean all the issues disappear. He and Pete Carroll often butted heads and there were questions about Thomas’ work ethic. He skipped every activity from the end of the 2017 season to the first snap of the 2018 season. Thomas had this to say as he reflects on the incident:
“I think my time just ran out,” Thomas said. “Pete and the front office didn’t value me like they used to, and I just talked to Coach Carroll, and he was saying how he was trying to get me in the plans of getting a new contract. But I got hurt the next week. I think I hurt myself too by my actions getting carted off the field.”
Thomas’ former teammates showed him support after his injury despite the gesture he made. What’s maybe more surprising is Carroll’s sympathetic comments following the incident.
“I know there’s been a lot of talk about it, people that are criticizing whatever happened don’t understand… give him a little slack,” Pete Carroll said. “This is a very, very difficult moment that most people would never understand what this is about.”
Seeing as Thomas has no regrets almost one full year after giving his former coach the middle finger, it’s safe to assume his attitude hasn’t changed. It will be interesting to see how Seahawk’s fans react when Baltimore visits CenturyLink Field on Oct. 20.