One of the cornerstones of the best era in Seahawks history, Earl Thomas might miss the franchise’s latest run at a Super Bowl.
The veteran safety suffered a broken bone in his leg during the first half Sunday night and is out indefinitely, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports.
“This game has been so good to me no regrets.. A lot is running through my mind including retirement thanks for all the prayers,” the seventh-year defender tweeted from the locker room.
It’s a lower leg fracture, the team announced. Pete Carroll told NBC’s Michele Tafoya Thomas sustained a cracked tibia. Both categorizations put the rest of his season in serious jeopardy. Thomas had gone six full seasons without missing a game; his first absence as an NFLer came last weekend against the Bucs with a hamstring injury.
Arguably the centerpiece of a Seahawks defense that’s been one of this century’s best units during its run over the past several seasons, Thomas is a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro. He signed a four-year, $40MM extension with the Seahawks in the 2014 offseason and is under contract through 2018.
It’s difficult to project the Seahawks’ defense without Thomas since he’s been a constant since it became a force several years ago. The trio of Thomas, Richard Sherman and Chancellor which has remained intact throughout this ascent has not missed many games. Of the trio, Chancellor’s been the only one with injury issues, missing eight games due to injury over the past two years. Up until tonight, none had experienced a serious malady as an NFL player.
The 27-year-old free safety rates as Pro Football Focus’ No. 11 back-line defender this season, but he’s been one of this decade’s best defenders. Seattle’s consistently churned out ancillary secondary pieces — like Byron Maxwell, Brandon Browner, or Jeremy Lane — but don’t have much experience using backup safeties. Former Chiefs backup Kelcie McCray and ex-Texan Steven Terrell are the Hawks’ primary understudies behind Thomas.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.