Since Earl Thomas made his NFL debut in 2010, he’s been a leader on the field. Thomas has also been a model citizen off the field and never made headlines for the wrong reasons. That changed in May when his wife confronted him and allegedly held him at gunpoint after she found him in bed with another woman.
Thomas showed up to training camp for his second season with the Baltimore Ravens looking to move past that incident and build on his first season, when he made the seventh Pro Bowl of his career. Making Pro Bowls, however, are the least of Thomas’ concerns now as he was sent home from practice after a fight with teammate Chuck Clark. This latest incident could precipitate the end of his time with the Ravens and be a huge hit to his bank account.
Earl Thomas’ success in Seattle and Baltimore
The Seattle Seahawks selected Earl Thomas out of the University of Texas with the 14th overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft. Thomas quickly validated his high draft selection that first year, starting all 16 games and grabbing five interceptions.
Thomas became a leader of the Seahawks and its Legion of Boom defense en route to earning five consecutive Pro Bowl nods as well as three first-team All-Pro selections. He was a key to one of the league’s best defenses in 2014 that helped the Seahawks win the Super Bowl.
In 2018, Thomas broke his leg in the fourth week and missed the remainder of the season. Despite that injury, he was a hot commodity on the market and the Ravens signed him before the 2019 season to a four-year, $55 million contract. His first season in Baltimore, the ballhawking Thomas grabbed a couple of interceptions and earned his seventh Pro Bowl selection.
Thomas and his offseason troubles
In May, Earl Thomas was back home in Austin, Texas, when he got into a confrontation with his wife, Nina. His brother reportedly picked him up and they left. Hours later, Nina tracked both Thomas brothers down at a nearby rental home where the pair were with several other women.
The incident escalated when she confronted her husband and allegedly held a gun to his head less than a foot away. Police were called to the scene. Upon their arrival, they discovered Thomas had wrestled the gun away from his wife, who was now chasing him with a knife around a vehicle.
After officers interviewed all those at the scene, Thomas’ wife was arrested. He was not. Court records revealed that his wife received an emergency protective order, which required her to stay 200 yards away.
Did Earl Thomas just make a $10 million mistake?
It’s not uncommon for tensions to flare up in training camp with players on opposites sides of the ball battling each other day after day for weeks on end. It is, however, odd for players on the same side of the ball to fight. That’s what happened between Baltimore Ravens safeties Earl Thomas and Chuck Clark.
After an earlier dispute on the sideline, in which Clark had to be restrained by teammates, tensions boiled over later in practice, with Clark, once again being restrained. Team officials sent Thomas home following the incidents.
According to Jason LaCanfora and Ken Weinman of 105.7 the Fan in Baltimore, some players are frustrated with Thomas being “punctual and focused” and his freelancing on the field, a complain that’s come up in the past.
While there is no official word on any punishment, according to Pro Football Talk, Thomas’ contract has wording included that he could lose his guaranteed $10 million salary in 2020 if he’s suspended for conduct detrimental to the team.
For years Earl Thomas has been known for his punishing hits as an NFL safety. The last few months, however, his reputation has taken a hit following the incident with his wife, and now the altercation with his teammate. It’s a bizarre twist to a career that had been nothing but positive for so many years. How it ends only time will tell.