RENTON Even though the Seahawks acknowledge there’s no replacing Earl Thomas, that’s just what they now have to do.
For the rest of this season, if not beyond.
Coach Pete Carroll confirmed Monday afternoon Thomas has a broken left tibia (shin bone) and that there is “no shot” his three-time All-Pro free safety returns to play this season. That includes the playoffs; Seattle has a three-game lead in the NFC West with four games remaining in the regular season.
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“He’s got a serious recovery that he’s going to have to go through. It’s going to take a while,” Carroll said one day after Thomas collided with teammate Kam Chancellor going for an interception of Carolina’s Cam Newton early in Seattle’s 40-7 win.
He refused to detail how long it might before Thomas could run again. Carroll added he did not know if the 27-year old will need surgery. Sunday was his 119th game played out a possible 120 since Seattle drafted him in the first round in 2010. His other miss was two weeks ago when he missed the team’s trip to Tampa Bay with a strained hamstring.
“It’s going to take longer (than what’s left in this season),” Carroll said of Thomas’ recovery from the broken leg.
“He seems to be doing OK. He’s handling it. He’s responding like we would like. He’s just trying to deal with it right now.”
The Seahawks (8-3-1) now have to deal with not having the best player at his position in football throughout his first extended absence. Steven Terrell, who played the final 41 of Sunday night’s 58 defensive snaps at free safety, will replace Thomas there this Sunday at Green Bay (6-6) and beyond. This weekend will be the second start of Terrell’s four-year career.
He started two weeks ago against the Buccaneers when Thomas had his hamstring injury. Though he and the secondary gave up two early touchdown passes they gave up no scores over the final 48 minutes in Florida, and coaches and teammates praised Terrell for his play, his 4.3-second speed in the 40-yard dash and his preparation.
Sunday night, minutes after Thomas was carted off the field and with the game still not half over, the superstar tweeted this:
Monday, his coach was asked what he thought of that.
“I can’t help you on that. I know that’s really generated a lot of curiosity,” Carroll said. “He’s going through -- at the time, the emotional part of dealing with an injury that’s a serious setback, and so I don’t know much more about it than that.”
Later, the coach echoed what Michael Bennett and other Seahawks said Sunday night following their fourth win in five games.
“I don’t think you are going to replace Earl Thomas,” Carroll said. “A very unique player.”
Carroll said Chancellor “got banged” when his leg slammed into his partner at safety in the back of the Seahawks’ defense.
Chancellor sighed late Sunday night talking about how he injured his “brother.”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday the Seahawks are about to sign former Washington Husky and Oakland Raider Pro Bowl fullback Marcel Reece.
Current Seahawks fullback Will Tukuafu is in the league’s concussion protocol, Carroll said, after leaving the win over the Panthers after playing just three snaps. And Seattle is likely to have a roster spot open because Thomas is expected to go on injured reserve this week.