Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll publicly acknowledged Earl Thomas’ absence from the team’s voluntary offseason workouts for the first time and noted he’s unsure the safety will show up at all this spring.
“We’ll find out,” Carroll said this weekend, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. “We’ve got to communicate. Phase 2 doesn’t look like it’s suiting him right now, so we’ll see. We’ll see what’s happening. Phase 3 is around the corner for us, so we’ll see. We’ve got one more week of Phase 2. Earl had a fantastic offseason and I know he knows how to get in shape. Veterans sometimes look at those rules and they see ‘voluntary’ and they see it differently than the other guys, so we’ll see.”
Phase 1 conditioning workouts opened for Seattle on April 16, before the draft, when the Seahawks were still flirting with trading Thomas. Phase 2 began April 30, after the conclusion of the draft. Despite not being traded, Thomas has stayed away from team workouts.
It’s not a new phenomenon for a veteran player to steer clear of voluntary workouts, opting to prepare himself on his own terms. It’s especially true for players entering the final year of a contract, trying to prove a point.
The Seahawks begin Phase 3 of workouts on May 21. Mandatory minicamp — for which Thomas could be fined for skipping — runs from June 12-14.
It’s no surprise that Thomas has stayed away from offseason workouts thus far, and it won’t come as a shock if he skips Phase 3 as well. If contract talks don’t escalate to his liking, the All-Pro safety could sit out into training camp. For veteran players who want new contracts, withholding services is one of their few methods of recourse, even if the Seattle brass is confident it won’t come to that.