WOS grad Thomas out for season

Published 11:50 pm Monday, December 5, 2016

West Orange-Stark graduate and Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas III has been ruled out for the season with a broken tibia suffered in Sunday night’s 40-7 win over the Carolina Panthers, it has been reported.

Coach Pete Carroll confirmed Thomas’ unavailability during Monday’s press conference. The Seattle Times reported on Thomas’ status.

“He seems to be OK,” Carroll said during the press conference, a video of which has been posted online. “He seems to be handling it. He’s responding and doing all right. He’s just trying to deal with it right now.”

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Asked earlier if there was a chance Thomas, 27, was going to return this season, Carroll answered: “No shot. It’s going to take longer than that.”

Thomas fell hard on his back on an interception attempt and rolled over at least once on the turf before coming to a stop. He managed to get up on his own but had to be checked out on the field and was carried off when he could not put any pressure on the injured leg.

Thomas missed a game for the first time in his career when he did not suit up for the Nov. 27 game at Tampa Bay, which the Buccaneers won 14-5. Thomas injured his hamstring chasing down a punt from Carson Wentz in Seattle’s previous game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

His absence ended a streak of 118 straight games played, including 106 in the regular season. He had started each of the regular-season games.

After he was carted off the field against Carolina, Thomas tweeted: “This game has been so good to me no regrets.. A lot is running through my mind including retirement thanks for all the prayers.”

Carroll was asked about his thoughts on Thomas’ tweet and responded: “I can’t help you on that. It’s generated a lot of curiosity. He’s going through, at the time, it’s just dealing with the emotional part of it. It’s a serious setback. I don’t know much more about it than that.”

Other NFL players have turned to Twitter to show support for Thomas. Tyrann Mathieu of the Arizona Cardinals tweeted: “I”ve suffered a few legs injuries…. Grind hard and comeback , I need your competition”

Thomas’ teammate, cornerback Richard Sherman, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: “I think all of us consider retirement just about ever game…”

Thomas has played seven seasons, winning a Super Bowl in the 2013-14 campaign. He was the leading vote-getter among free safeties in the NFC for the Pro Bowl with 144,891 as of 1 p.m. Monday.

Thomas has no interceptions this season, which will be a career low for him. He’s picked off 21 passes as a pro, returning one for a touchdown in 2012, and he’s forced nine fumbles.

He graduated from West Orange-Stark in 2007 and played three seasons at Texas.

Carroll declined to discuss Thomas’ recovery time and was unsure about plans for surgery, adding he wanted to hear more from the doctors about the injury.

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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