Sunday’s Seahawks-Cowboys game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex., was a pretty big deal. It was the first time a win-or-go-home game was played in Week 16 since 1977, and Seattle beat Dallas, 21-12, to knock the Cowboys out of the playoff picture altogether while remaining alive for a postseason berth at 9-6. Very high stakes, to be sure.
All of which made the actions of Seahawks safety Earl Thomas after the game so peculiar. Thomas, minutes after the final gun, ran off the field and toward the Dallas locker room, not Seattle’s. And on his way there, he chased down Cowboys Coach Jason Garrett, stopped him, exchanged handshakes and warm greetings, and said, “If y’all got the chance to come get me, come get me!”
If you’re still confused, fear not, because you’re hardly alone. Thomas attempted to clear things up when he met the media a little while later, but that doesn’t change the fact that what he did appeared highly unusual.
“We had a great win. I feel like we played lights-out. Just emotional,” Thomas said per ESPN. “I went to the locker room to talk to [Cowboys wide receiver Dez] Bryant, and I saw Coach Garrett. I’ve always been a Cowboys fan growing up. But the biggest thing when I say ‘come get me’ is, I don’t literally mean like, ‘Come get me now.’ I’m still in the prime of my career. I still want to be here, but when Seattle kicks me to the curb, please — the Cowboys — come get me. That’s the only place I would rather be if I get kicked to the curb. So that’s what I meant by it. People take life too serious. That’s just who I am.”
Thomas is a native of Orange, Tex., about 300 miles southeast of Dallas. It would be a stretch to assume he was being anything but sincere in explaining his lifelong fandom of “America’s Team.” He signed a $40 million contract extension that made him the league’s highest-paid safety following the Seahawks’ win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, and that deal will expire after the 2018 season. Suddenly, a potentially motivating factor for his brief chat with Garrett comes into some focus.
After saying in that same postgame scrum that “I don’t know. But if they don’t, you know, please come get me,” when asked whether he senses the Seahawks might be getting ready to let him go, Thomas added that “I love being here” and “I don’t want to leave.” But he also didn’t answer definitively when asked whether the Seahawks have opened discussions regarding a new deal. And when he was asked whether he wished they would, he responded, “Yeah, that would be a great Christmas present.”
This was the second consecutive week in which Thomas was involved in a team-related controversy. After the Seahawks were waxed by the Los Angeles Rams in Week 15, Thomas questioned whether Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who was limited by a hamstring injury, should have played. Wagner responded harshly on social media, tweeting that Thomas should keep his name out of his mouth and that the safety should “stop being jealous” of other people’s success. Wagner later deleted those tweets.
The Seahawks, whose roster is chock full of players never afraid to speak their minds, could at least temporarily paper over any ill will or negative locker-room vibes with a win over the Arizona Cardinals and an Atlanta Falcons loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, which would put them in the playoffs. If that scenario doesn’t come to pass, you might want to get your popcorn ready.
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