RENTON The specter of Earl Thomas possibly retiring -- which Thomas himself created -- continues to hang over the Seahawks.
Sunday night, Thomas broke his tibia in the win over Carolina. Tuesday, the Seahawks put their three-time All-Pro safety on injured reserve.
Wednesday, coach Pete Carroll said the injury does not put Thomas’ career or even his ability to return in 2017 in jeopardy.
“This is an injury you recover from. It just takes a long time. I don’t think it’s a big question like, ‘Will he ever make it back?’” Carroll said as the team’s preparations began in full for Steven Terrell to start for Thomas at free safety in Sunday’s game at Green Bay.
“He’ll be OK. We just have to take the time to do it. This is not weeks. This is months on this one, so it does take some time. But at this point he does have that time.
“So we’ll be very optimistic about him being able to get back.”
Thomas created this issue by posting on his Twitter account during the first half of Sunday night’s game, moments after he’d learned he’d broken his leg colliding with teammate Kam Chancellor trying for an interception of Carolina’s Cam Newton:
He reinforced that retirement thought in a text message to ESPN’s Ed Werder: “I'm taking it one day at a time. I still feel the same way I felt (Sunday) night.”
Thomas’ fellow three-time All-Pro in the Seattle secondary doesn’t think his 27-year-old teammate is retiring.
Asked if he expects Thomas to come back to play in 2017, Richard Sherman said: “Yeah, yeah. I expect him to come back.”
Carroll has not put an exact timeline on Thomas’ recovery, and Wednesday again said he wasn’t sure if the star needed surgery. ESPN reported Thomas texted Werder that he doesn’t need surgery and is having his leg immobilized to try natural healing.
Sherman mentioned, in passing, “six months” while talking about Thomas’ recovery.
“There are not a lot of stories out there, and that’s a big one. So they are going to talk about that until they can’t talk about it anymore,” Sherman said of Thomas possibly retiring.
“He’s just been hanging out. He was in good spirits the last time I talked to him.”