Earl Thomas‘ obscene gesture toward the Seattle Seahawks’ sideline last Sunday was not directed at coach Pete Carroll or any one person, but at the organization as a whole, a league source told ESPN.
Thomas was frustrated that he didn’t land his contract extension, wasn’t traded by the Seahawks and had just fractured his leg for the second time in the past three seasons.
Report: Seattle’s Thomas fined for middle finger
Earl Thomas has been fined $13,369 by the NFL for giving the middle finger as he was carted off the field with a broken leg last Sunday, the Seattle Times reported.
Where the Legion of Boom stacks up all time
Earl Thomas’ season-ending injury means the final member of the Legion has likely played his last snap for Seattle.
It also appears as though Thomas’ time with the Seahawks is over. They won’t have to decide until after this season, but the Seahawks are not expected to use their franchise tag on Thomas this winter, allowing him to leave Seattle, league sources told ESPN.
The franchise tag number for safeties next season projects to be about $11.85 million — above the $11.28 million franchise tag number for a safety this season, according to a source.
But before he becomes a free agent this winter, Thomas will need to recover from the fractured leg he suffered last Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. Thomas will undergo surgery that is expected to sideline him three to four months, meaning he likely will be ready to undergo physicals for any interested teams during free agency.
Seattle will have to get used to life without Thomas, who is on injured reserve and will be replaced by Tedric Thompson in Sunday’s game against the division rival Los Angeles Rams.
Thomas, who held out all offseason in protest of his contract situation and returned without a new deal, was carted off the field with his leg in an air cast midway through the third quarter. He was fined $13,000 for the obscene gesture, according to a Seattle Times report, but Carroll stressed that critics should back off.
“People that are criticizing whatever happened don’t understand,” Carroll said earlier this week. “This was an earth-shattering moment for a kid. He’s trying to play this game he loves, and all of sudden this happens again. He knew exactly what happened to him, so he went right to what it’s going to take to get back.”
ESPN’s Brady Henderson contributed to this report.