INDIANAPOLIS Richard Sherman isn’t the only original member of the Seahawks “Legion of Boom” secondary whose future is in some doubt.
Three-time All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas is also entering the final year of his contract. He has already talked of the Seahawks, the only NFL team he’s known, “kicking him to the curb” after this year.
That was his explanation on Christmas Eve minutes after Thomas walked to the Dallas locker room following Seattle’s win in Arlington, Texas, and told Cowboys coach Jason Garrett “come get me.”
Thomas, who turns 29 in May, hinted at the Pro Bowl in January he might hold out if he doesn’t get a new contract before next season begins in September. The Seahawks would save $8.5 million against the salary cap this year if they trade of release him--but have no heir anywhere near apparent in their secondary.
What does Pete Carroll think about Thomas wanting a new contract now, even though the Seahawks have other, more pressing priorities with their scant salary-cap space?
“Let’s see, last year at this time he had retired,” the Seahawks coach said wryly on Thursday at the NFL combine here. “I’m not sure where to put that right now. Earl and I have talked about some stuff. That specifically was not very much of a topic or a discussion.
“He’s a great competitor he wants to take it as far as he can. And I admire the heck out of him.”
Carroll was asked if the team or general manager John Schneider was communicating with Thomas about where he stands, contract-wise.
“Everybody is talking to everybody right now,” Carroll said.
Carroll had other health updates Thursday in his first public comments in two months.
He said Pro Bowl defensive end Cliff Avril and star strong safety Kam Chancellor are still waiting for more tests on their neck injuries and nerve issues that threaten their careers.
“Nothing new,” Carroll said.
“Those guys are still in process and we are waiting for the word where they have their stations along the way where they check in with the docs and all that. Really holding out hope that things work out.”
I asked Carroll is he was planning that Avril and Chancellor will not play in 2018, as all signs indicate so far.
“No,” the coach said, “not planning that.”
As for Malik McDowell, Seattle’s top rookie draft choice in 2017, Carroll had no update on the defensive lineman’s status. He missed last season because of serious head and other injuries following a still-unspecified ATV accident in his home state of Michigan in July. McDowell has yet to even practice for the Seahawks.
“Nothing new,” Carroll said. “Same kind of thing. He’s got a process he is going through. We get information rarely in his case, but there will be a time when you will hear more. Don’t have much for you now, sorry.”
George Fant continues to progress well from his season-ending knee surgery last summer, after he was going to be the starting left tackle in 2017. So well, Carroll said Fant is absolutely in Seattle’s plans this year.
“We’ve got to get Georgie back. He’s having a great offseason, seeing him almost every day as he runs through the building working out and, he’s really excited about it and we’ll see how far he can take it,” Carroll said. “George was just on the rise and just coming and he had a tremendous start to last season and we were really excited about him. We’ll just see where that fits together. Can’t tell you that right now.”
Asked if Fant will be ready for training camp, Carroll said: “There is a chance for that,” he said. “That’s what he’s shooting for.
“We won’t rush him at all. He’s got a great future ahead of him and we’re excited about his development. We’ll see what happens, but I know he’s holding out for that.”
I asked Carroll if running back Chris Carson, the rookie starter the first month of last season until a broken leg and ankle-ligament damage Oct. 1, is on track to be on the field to begin training camp.
“Oh, yeah,” Carroll said.