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Pete Carroll continues to downplay Seahawks saga with Thomas

September 27, 2018
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Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas reacts after the team defeated the Dallas Cowboys in an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll attempted Wednesday to downplay safety Earl Thomas’ lingering dissatisfaction, saying he believes the sides will be fine with a plan that includes Thomas not taking part in many practices.

Thomas was again a nonparticipant in practice Wednesday as Seattle began preparations for Sunday’s game against Arizona. After last week’s victory over Dallas, Thomas said he had no intension of putting his future at risk by practicing unless the Seahawks provided him contract security beyond the 2018 season or granted his wish to be traded.

“We’ve done the whole conversation. We’ve been through it. We’re very clear,” Carroll said. “I might have demonstrated to you that I was confident that we would be OK about working through this because I felt like we would be. I think we are and I’m really looking forward to another week of playing ball. Everything is taking place and we’re not really sharing it with you but it’s going on.”

Thomas said after Seattle’s 24-13 win Sunday that he didn’t feel the need to practice because of the lack of a long-term commitment from the Seahawks. Thomas said he expected to be fined for his actions, and Carroll indicated there could be consequences.

“If they were invested in me, I’d be out there practicing, but if I feel like anything — I don’t give a damn if it’s small, I got a headache — I’m not practicing,” Thomas said.

Allowing Thomas to dictate the terms of his practice participation isn’t entirely outside the norm, but does go against Carroll’s convictions about the importance of practice and competition. Marshawn Lynch essentially had his own practice plan during his time in Seattle, and numerous veterans have been given days off in the past.

Carroll said that Thomas would not practice Wednesday as, “This is a day he always gets a break.”

But that hasn’t been Thomas’ track record in the past. He was listed as a full participant in practice the Wednesday before the opener, which was the day he reported to the team after ending a holdout. The following week when Seattle had its first practice of the week on Thursday due to a Monday night game, Thomas did not take part and the trend has continued.

Going back to last year, Thomas was listed as a full participant at every Wednesday practice the final six weeks of the season. He was a limited participant before Seattle faced Atlanta in Week 11 due to a hamstring injury.

Linebacker Bobby Wagner said it doesn’t matter if Thomas practices as long as he continues to play like he has through the first three weeks. Thomas is one of three players in the NFL with three interceptions already.

“He’s a baller and that’s what he does,” Wagner said. “At the end of the day it’s going to be a bunch of stuff that happens during the week, and the great ones are able to put that aside and come out and play, and don’t let whether it’s being sick, whether it being issues, whether it’s being whatever. When it comes time for the game they come and they play and that’s what Earl does. That’s what I expect from him.”

Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. echoed Wagner.

“Sure, everyone needs to practice. We understand practice is the fabric of what we do,” Norton said. “At the same time he’s a veteran and you’ve got to protect your guys. I think we have a good plan for him right now.”

NOTES: Carroll said he’s received word that LB Mychal Kendricks will be able to play this week. Kendricks is awaiting possible discipline from the NFL after he pleaded guilty to insider trading charges earlier this month. ... WR Doug Baldwin practiced for the first time since spraining his knee in the opener against Denver. Baldwin was a limited participant, but Carroll said Baldwin hopes to play Sunday. ... C Justin Britt (shoulder) was a full participant after playing only a few snaps on special teams last week vs. Dallas.

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