Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll called Earl Thomas' "come get me" comment "unfortunate," but otherwise didn't express much concern about what his All-Pro free safety did after the team's win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
Thomas was heading into the Cowboys' locker room to talk with wide receiver Dez Bryant, a close friend, when he urged Jason Garrett to acquire him if he were to ever become available, telling the coach, "If ya'll got a chance to come get me, come get me!" The exchange was seen on video captured by the Dallas Morning News and the NFL Network.
"I'm up in arms," Carroll said sarcastically when asked about the incident during his weekly radio appearance on 710 ESPN Seattle.
Carroll said he spoke with an incredulous Thomas after catching wind of what happened.
"I sat with Earl afterwards and he was like, 'What do you mean?' He didn't think he did anything wrong at all. He didn't know," Carroll said. "He was just having fun and he was really excited about the game. He was a little bit [wanting to] rub it in a little bit and have a good time with it, and then he just said something into the future. When you read it, it comes across bad. But if he had another chance, he wouldn't say that again.
"He was really concerned about our fans. That was his first [thought], 'Geez, I don't want to make them think that I don't love being here' and all that. So he said what he could say to try to clear it up and all that."
Speaking with reporters after the video had circulated on Twitter, Thomas confirmed that's what he told Garrett but clarified that he didn't necessarily mean any time soon. Thomas said his "come get me" comment was in reference to whenever Seattle "kicks me to the curb." He said he's happy with the Seahawks, the team that drafted him in 2010 and gave him a four-year, $40 million contract extension in 2014 that made him the NFL's highest-paid safety at the time.
Thomas is signed through 2018. Several of his postgame comments strongly suggested that the Seahawks have not approached him about an extension, which is something the team typically doesn't do until a player is either entering or in the final year of his contract.
Carroll was asked if he worries about Thomas' comment less than he would coming from another player because of Thomas' different personality.
"A little bit less," Carroll said with a laugh. "We all know Earl and Earl's a wonderful guy and a great competitor, an incredible player and all that. He sees things a little differently sometimes. It's unfortunate because it causes people to have to take a stand on stuff, and then in this day and age, everything you say just goes and goes. Writing looks different than as you would say it.
"... He was blown away. He couldn't believe it. I was the first one that said something to him because I had heard it in our locker room, and I said, 'Do you realize what just happened? He said, 'No, what are you talking about?' We were sitting on the bench together. I know it bothers people, but we're OK. We'll get through it."
Thomas, 28, was just named to his sixth Pro Bowl. He's been a first-team All-Pro three times in his career, and his 2017 season could earn him a fourth nod.
"He is as tightly wound as anybody I've ever been around I think and as introspective," Carroll said. "Really, he's very quiet. He doesn't say much, he doesn't talk much, he's not a guy that expresses himself very often. When he does, sometimes it's coming out. 'OK, what was that? Where'd that come from, Earl?' But he's awesome in his way."