Week 3 against the Chargers, 2010: Earl Thomas misplays a pass and after he returns to the sideline, NFL Films cameras capture Pete Carroll coaching Thomas up on what to do in that scenario. Not long after, Thomas picks off his first career pass, this time NFL Films capturing Carroll reacting like a proud father. Later in the same game, Thomas picks off Philip Rivers again, sealing a Seahawks win.
Week 4 against the Cardinals, 2018: A tumultuous summer, preseason and regular season between club and player ends in an absolute nightmare scenario. Earl Thomas breaks his leg, ending his season and likely his time with the Seahawks. Pete Carroll joins a circle of concerned players from both sides, standing over his injured star. Minutes later, cameras capture Thomas giving Carroll the finger as he’s carted off.
So much occurred in the 2926 days that came between Thomas’s breakout performance, and his final game in a Seahawks jersey. Two NFC Championships, a Super Bowl, division titles and countless big plays from Thomas.
Earl Thomas and Pete Carroll’s relationship was always different. Chancellor was Carroll’s voice among the players. Sherman had been recruited by Carroll in high school, defeated him in college, then turned into an All-Pro by him in the NFL.
But Thomas… Thomas was always meant to play for Pete Carroll. Thomas’s demeanor, his fire, his pissed-off-for-greatness path to Canton encapsulated everything that Carroll believes in. To top it all off, he played the same position Carroll once played. He was an extension of Carroll and the Seahawks’ beliefs on the football field.
Pete and the Seahawks are going to take a lot of shit for Thomas’s situation. Thomas is going to take some shit for the way he went about his business.
It doesn’t feel like the way it ended between the two will be put away anytime soon. Carroll can deflect, but there’s resentment. Rightly or wrongly, it’s really sad.
I tweeted this on Sunday, as I tried to cope with sarcasm, but it’s true:
His prodigy, his best ever player being enshrined into the Hall of Fame. It would’ve been only right.
Sunday closed Earl Thomas’s career in Seattle. This past summer may have closed Carroll and Thomas’s relationship. The Seahawks won on Sunday, but it feels like they lost a whole lot more than just their most valuable defender. They lost one of the defining connections of the best era in franchise history. They lost a chance at that connection being rebuilt. We lost a chance to see one of the most incredible players of a generation leave his defense the way he deserved.
I can’t wait to watch Earl Thomas return to the football field in 2019.