Earl Thomas is preparing to return to the Seattle Seahawks this week for the first time since his public, tumultuous breakup with the team last year.
Thomas broke his leg early last season against the Arizona Cardinals, and famously flipped Seahawks coach Pete Carroll off while riding the cart off the field. Thomas revealed later that he didn’t think Carroll was genuine after his injury, and didn’t regret the move one bit.
Though the move isn’t one that many head coaches are likely to forget, Carroll doesn’t sound like he’s holding much of a grudge heading into Sunday’s matchup with the Baltimore Ravens, who signed Thomas to a four-year, $55 million deal this summer. Thomas was “a blast to coach,” Carroll said.
“I haven’t seen him much since then,” Carroll said Wednesday, via ESPN. “Obviously he was upset. But my heart’s pretty big, pretty wide open for these guys from the time we spent together and all the stuff that we do. It’s way more important than something that happened, some gesture or some statement … I’m going to love them anyway.”
Thomas has 19 tackles and one interception this season in Baltimore, which marks just his second team throughout his decade-long NFL career.
The six-time Pro Bowler — who had 28 interceptions in his career with the Seahawks and helped lead them to a Super Bowl win — acknowledged that it may be a bit weird when he actually gets to Seattle, but insists it’s “business as usual.”
“Nothing hit me yet,” Thomas said Wednesday, via ESPN. “I’m just trying to get the game plan down and take it one day at a time and get my body right for the game. No emotions yet. Nothing as really hit me yet.”
Whether he takes the time to greet Carroll or anyone else in the Seahawks organization before the game, however, is still up in the air.
“I’m going to take it as it comes,” Thomas said. “I still have a good relationship with most of the guys on the staff. I’ll definitely speak if we time it up.”
Carroll has a similar mindset.
“It depends on how the day goes,” Carroll said. “If we bump into each other, we will … When it happens, it happens.”
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