Thomas had a pair of interceptions in the Seahawks' 24-13 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, capping a bizarre week for the team and its All-Pro free safety. He told reporters afterward that his absences in practice were related to his continued discontent over his contract situation.
"I need to make sure my body is 100," he said. "I'm invested in myself. If they was invested in me, I would be out there practicing. But if I feel like anything -- I don't give a damn if it's small, I've got a headache -- I'm not practicing. But I don't want that to be taken the wrong way. I know I'm going to get fined. But that's just where I'm at with that."
ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Sunday morning that the team is considering a hefty fine against Thomas for conduct detrimental to the team after he sat out Wednesday and Friday. The team listed his absences as not injury-related, and Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll told reporters that it was a personal matter, without elaborating.
"I probably will," Thomas said when asked if he expects to be fined. "Definitely. They definitely going to tax me."
Asked if he has been told that he'll be fined, Thomas said, "I'm sure I'll have a slip in my locker."
Thomas, 29, held out all during training camp, reporting to the team on Sept. 5, four days before the season opener. He was seeking a new contract as he entered the final year of a four-year, $40 million extension that he signed in 2014. Over the summer, he posted a note on social media asking the team to either sign him to an extension or trade him to another team.
When he returned, he said on Instagram that the "disrespect has been well noted and will not be forgotten."
Carroll said he had not given any consideration to not starting Thomas because of the missed practices.
Asked whether he expects that this will become Thomas' routine, Carroll said: "Let me tell you what I do know. What I do know is he gave everything he had today. He was in every step of the way, every aspect of the game. The communications, the focus and the adjustments, and we were going.
"I was with him on some of those things on the sideline. He was in everything. He played his tail off, and he had a blast playing, and he had a blast in the locker room. I'll talk to him next week about whatever."
Speaking on Monday, Carroll described Thomas' situation as being "unique."
"[Thomas has] really sincere concerns about his future and all that, and I totally respect that and will continue to respect that and work it what is best and how things can come together for all of the right reasons," Carroll told ESPN 710 in Seattle. "We love the way he plays, the person that he is and the contributor that he's been over the years. There's no slighting of that. He's awesome and he's showing it, which I think is so comical that he's being so effective and he's having a freaking blast playing.
"There's two sides here and we're just working it out. There's the business side and the ball side and we're trying to figure out what's best. It's ongoing and really sincerely ongoing. I want what's best for Earl. We're trying to figure that out how to work this out and of course we want what's best for the club, so we're managing it."
All of this comes in the wake of Seattle's win over the team that has been most connected to the Seahawks in a possible trade for Thomas. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that a trade to the Cowboys is a "super long shot," according to one league source.
Thomas was asked if he thought this week could be his last with Seattle, the team that drafted him 14th overall in 2010.
"Yeah, of course. I heard chatter," Thomas said. "People was coming up to me and saying a trade might happen. Even pregame, a couple of Cowboys coaches -- I don't know if they were trying to play psychological games -- but they was like, 'You ready for the trade tomorrow?' But at the end of the day, I had a great time with the guys that I've been practicing with -- well, I haven't been practicing, but the guys I have been around. It was just fun out there."
Thomas said he wasn't sure if the Dallas coaches were joking or serious, and his pregame conversation with head coach Jason Garrett was "just small talk, like, 'What's up?' That was it."
Thomas said former Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard, now on Dallas' coaching staff, wasn't one of the Cowboys assistants who made pregame comments about a trade.
On the possibility of this being his last game in Seattle, Thomas said, "I don't know if it was, man. I had a damn good time. I'll go out like that if I have to."
When asked if he's still hopeful for an extension from Seattle or if he thinks that ship has sailed, Thomas said, "I just want to be appreciated. That's it."
Thomas' interceptions in Sunday's tilt were his second and third of the season. He finished the game with seven tackles, tied with linebacker Bobby Wagner for the team lead.
Carroll said Thomas played a "heckuva game."