RENTON, Wash. — Coach Pete Carroll said he thinks the Seattle Seahawks and Earl Thomas are in “a good place” and that he’s not concerned about lingering drama after the All-Pro free safety said he sat out of practice last week in order to protect himself as he seeks a new contract.
“Really, we’re way beyond all that stuff,” Carroll said Wednesday. “We’ve been working through stuff. We’re going. We’re ready. It’s not even a concern of mine right now. … No, I’m not concerned about it. I think we’re in a good place and we’ve talked through the things we needed to talk through, and we’re moving.”
Carroll said he based that impression on their history and their current standing.
“I’ve tried to convey to you that we have a longtime relationship and we have a good understanding and we communicate really well, and banking on that, we have gotten to the point where I think we’re moving forward in a really positive way,” Carroll said. “I’m trying to say as little about it as possible.”
Asked if Thomas is practicing Wednesday, Carroll said, “This is the day that Earl always gets a break,” referring to the rest days that are regularly given to veteran players. Carroll answered in the affirmative when asked if he expects Thomas to practice Thursday.
Thomas, who intercepted two more passes in Seattle’s win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, told reporters postgame that he was expecting a team fine after sitting out of practice on Wednesday and Friday of that week. Thomas said his absences were directly related to his desire for a new contract, which compelled him to hold out all offseason before returning to the team on the Wednesday before the opener.
“I need to make sure my body is 100,” Thomas said Sunday. “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 Seahawks were considering a hefty fine against him for conduct detrimental to the team. It’s not clear if the team has fined Thomas.
“Of course we’ve talked about it, yeah,” Carroll said when asked if he and Thomas have discussed Thomas missing practice. “Yeah, we’ve done the whole conversation. We’ve been through it, we’re very clear. I might have demonstrated to you that I was kind of confident that we would be OK about working through this because I felt like we would be, and I think we are. And I’m really looking forward of another week of getting ready to play ball. Everything’s taking place, and we’re not really sharing it with you, but it’s going fine.”
Carroll called Baldwin’s return to practice a “great step” in his recovery and said he has “really determined” to return, but he stopped short of guaranteeing the receiver’s availability for the Arizona game. Baldwin also missed a month of training camp with an injury to his other knee.
“He looks really good, light on his feet,” Carroll said. “He’s very confident that he can have a chance to play this week, so we’ll see how that goes. He’s confident. That’s not a surprise. We’ve got to see if he can pull it off.”
It doesn’t sound like linebacker K.J. Wright is as close to returning from his knee injury as Baldwin, though Carroll said Mychal Kendricks will be available again this week as he continues to appeal his suspension for his connection to insider trading. Kendricks has replaced Wright at weakside linebacker the past two weeks.
“Working his way back,” Carroll said of Wright, who has missed the first three games following arthroscopic knee surgery. “He was going on a really good pace, and then we needed to slow it down a little bit, so we’re going day to day with him now and seeing how he progresses.”
Asked if he’s gotten any word from the NFL on Kendricks’ appeal, Carroll only said, “He’s playing this week,” and added, “That’s all I know.”
The league typically informs teams early in the week if a player is going to be suspended.
Carroll said left guard Ethan Pocic is doing “way better” and that Pocic is hopeful that he can play Sunday after missing the Dallas game with an ankle injury. But Pocic isn’t practicing Wednesday, and Carroll said it will have to be obvious that he’s ready to play given how well the guard tandem of J.R. Sweezy and D.J. Fluker played against the Cowboys.
Center Justin Britt, who only played on special teams against the Cowboys because of a shoulder injury, is practicing. Carroll said defensive end Dion Jordan has an unspecific “core” injury and that he’s hopeful of playing Sunday.
Oft-injured running back C.J. Prosise is also dealing with what Carroll described as a core injury that sidelined him Sunday. Prosise, a third-round pick in 2016, has only played in 13 of a possible 35 regular-season games.
“I’m not sure what’s going to happen this week, but we’re going to look after him and see if we can get him right,” Carroll said. “He didn’t make a lot of progress over the weekend unfortunately.”