Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Earl Thomas speeds to his big day
By Terry Blount
Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas was running a little late for a news conference in his honor Tuesday, so he might have gone a tad over the speed limit on the way there.
A police officer pulled him over just up the street from the Seahawks' facility. The officer took one look at the driver and let him go with a warning, immediately becoming the most popular policeman with all the 12s.
After all, it was Thomas' big day, the official announcement of the contract extension to make him the first $10 million-a-year NFL safety. The exact numbers are a four-year, $40 million deal with $27.75 million guaranteed and a $9.25 million signing bonus.
"This is a family to me," Thomas said. “I love everybody in this organization. It's not about me. It’s about the people that helped me along the way, too. This is where I grew up [as a football player]. I’m excited to keep this going.”
So are the Seahawks. General manager John Schneider called it a “historic day.”
Coach Pete Carroll said of Thomas’ extension: “It's a very proud moment for us.”
Cornerback Richard Sherman, who also is negotiating a contract extension that could be completed soon, sent out this tweet and Instagram photo.
Asked about Sherman's contract, Thomas said he's not worried. “Sherm's got it under control.”
Thomas's extension will piggyback on the final year of his current contract, which pays him $4.6 million in 2014. So the extension keeps him in Seattle through the 2018 season when he’ll be 29.
Thomas said the contract negotiations started out of the blue. He wanted to have it done before training camp.
He said it was important to him to become the highest paid safety, not for the money, but to show his separation as a competitor.
When the news conference ended, Thomas asked all the Seattle defensive coaches to join him on stage because he wanted them to be a part of it.
That says a lot about why the Seahawks were willing to make Thomas’s salary reflect the fact he is the best safety in football.
And being a Seattle hero and good guy might also help you get by with a warning -- this time around -- when you're caught speeding.