Four prominent NFL players said they wouldn’t report to training camp this summer without a new contract.
Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams got one. Khalil Mack forced a trade to the Chicago Bears and signed a lucrative contract extension. Earl Thomas showed up at the 11th hour, just before the Seattle Seahawks opened the season, not happy to be there. And Le’Veon Bell remains AWOL from the Pittsburgh Steelers, saying he won’t sign his franchise tag and won’t risk injury on the brink of free agency.
Thomas, 29, went down in the fourth quarter Sunday in Seattle’s win over the Arizona Cardinals, his left leg broken. As he was carted off the field, he made an obscene gesture toward the Seattle sideline, presumably over the team’s failure to sign him to a new contract or trade him.
Later, Bell sent his support via social media, posting in the comments section of an Instagram post from ESPN:
“smh exactly...get right bro bro @earl ! I’ll continue to be the ‘bad guy’ for ALL of us,” Bell wrote.
Bell was reacting to this comment from inside linebacker Bobby Wagner, Thomas’ teammate since 2012, about the injury:
“If he doesn’t come, then he’s not a team player,” Wagner said. “If he does come and gets hurt, then it’s, ‘He shouldn’t have came.’ ... if I was him, I’d be pissed off.”
After the game Sunday, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Thomas, a three-time All-Pro, will be placed on injured reserve and will miss the rest of the season. He broke same leg late in the 2016 season.
On Monday, Carroll said Thomas deserves some understanding for his actions in a tough situation.
“Give him a little slack,” Carroll said, according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times. “This is a very, very difficult moment that most people would never understand what this is all about.”
NFL Network reported Thomas’ $8.5 million salary for 2018 is fully guaranteed for injury.
—Field Level Media