RENTON, Wash. (AP) - For whatever reason, playing in Arizona has become a drama-filled trip for the Seattle Seahawks.
The latest chapter came Sunday when Earl Thomas broke his leg in a 20-17 win.
Seattle’s star free safety fractured the tibia in his left leg in a collision with Arizona wide receiver Chad Williams with nine minutes to play. It was nearly an identical injury to the one Thomas sustained in 2016 when he collided with teammate Kam Chancellor in a game against the Carolina Panthers.
The stadium in Glendale, Arizona, has turned into a house of horrible memories for the Seahawks, and the Super Bowl loss to New England is just one of the miserable moments for Seattle.
Former running back Marshawn Lynch extended a middle finger to the Seahawks sideline in Arizona in 2013 to express his displeasure with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s play-calling. There was the unsightly 6-6 tie during the 2016 season. And there was Malcolm Butler’s interception of Russell Wilson at the goal line to deny Seattle a second-straight Lombardi Trophy.
In addition to Thomas’ injury, Chancellor and Richard Sherman each saw his tenure with the Seahawks end because of injuries sustained in a game in Arizona last November. Chancellor sustained a neck injury that has kept him from continuing his career while Sherman tore his Achilles tendon and was released this offseason.
Now there is the image of Thomas leaving the field on a cart with a middle finger extended toward his sideline in what could end up being his final game with the Seahawks.
The Legion of Boom all went bust in the desert.
“I don’t know where to put that,” coach Pete Carroll said. “It’s kind of uncanny that it’s happened like that.”
The loss of Thomas throws second-year safety Tedric Thompson into the spotlight. Thompson was the starter through most of the preseason when Thomas was holding out and has seen plenty of playing time in the first month as Seattle has used a mix of defenses featuring three safeties.
“We’re excited about Tedric’s play and he’s been playing quite a bit in the dime group that we’ve been playing, so he’s been on the field a lot, so it’s nothing new for him to get out there,” Carroll said.
But Thompson isn’t Thomas - at least not yet - and his likely first start is set to come against the most potent offense in the NFL when the Los Angeles Rams visit on Sunday.
“I don’t see it replacing Earl Thomas,” Carroll said. “He’s a great football player and has demonstrated that for a long period of time and had probably - what we both acknowledged - his best start of any season he could recall. It’s next guy up. This is not Earl coming back. This is Tedric playing the game. He is going the best he can in the way he plays.”
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