While the Seahawks close out the next two weeks with eyes on January, Earl Thomas will be elsewhere, confronted with an uncertain future and a potential retirement.
The Seahawks Pro Bowl safety first suggested he was considering leaving football after he suffered his season-ending leg injury in a Week 12 win over the Panthers. Thomas tweeted out within an hour of the injury, “This game has been so good to me no regrets. A lot is running through my mind including retirement thanks for all the prayers.”
At the time, many deemed his comments more emotional hyperbole than measured assessment. But now that Thomas has had a few weeks to mull over his future in this league, is he still inching toward an exit from the game?
When asked on Tuesday’s edition of The Rich Eisen Show about his previous retirement comments, Thomas was non-committal on either end.
“Yeah, I’m kind of enjoying just waking up in the mornings without the pressure. Peace is starting to return to me, bro, and I think that’s my ultimate goal in life. I just want to have peace,” the safety told Eisen. “But I can say when I went back to the VMAC (Seahawks facility) the other day, my competitive juices came right back. I don’t know, man. I’m kind of caught in between right now.
“Of course emotions were taking over me (after the injury), but I was still thinking clearly in my eyes. Like I said, I still kind of feel the same way. It’s a lot of pressure when you play in this game. I play at a high level and my teammates expect me to do what I do. It’s all about recommitting myself, and I don’t know.
“I’m never going to step on a football field half-heartedly. When I go out there, I want to be out there with my balls hanging — don’t want to say my balls hanging, but just — no fear, that’s a better way to say it. But if I have any doubts, I don’t want to play the game.”
Thomas’ comments reflect the same sentiments as another Seattle great who retired in his prime, his former teammate Marshawn Lynch. The enigmatic running back mulled retirement for nearly three seasons before an injury-plagued 2015 campaign signaled his end.
The very suggestion that Thomas may leave football is also in line with a recent trend of young players retiring earlier than expected for health, family and/or interest reasons — Calvin Johnson, Chris Borland, Anthony Davis and Jake Locker are names that come to mind.
So while Thomas’ retirement talk was brought to the surface by his most recent injury, there is clearly more going into this decision than his health, factors that at the end of the day go beyond football.
“Everything in my life is really affected by the game, even my time with my daughter, my wife, my mom, everybody,” Thomas added. “When you take it to football things — the way you eat, the way you got to take care of your body, the constant training — it’s hard for you to be well-rounded when you’re always thinking about football.
“I definitely want to be better as a man, not just as a football player, so I’ll start to think about things like that and it just has me thinking.”