Just a few minutes after suffering what would be diagnosed as a season-ending injury, Seahawks safety Earl Thomas took to Twitter and stunned the world with talk about potentially retiring from football.
No one really thought Thomas would walk away. He's an All-Pro safety -- maybe/probably the best safety in football actually -- and only 27 years old. He's at the height of his powers.
But, as Thomas told the "Rich Eisen Show" on Tuesday, the talk about leaving football isn't just hot air. It's something he's legitimately still mulling.
"Yeah I'm kind of enjoying just waking up in the mornings without the pressure. Peace is starting to return to me, bro," Thomas said. "That's my ultimate goal in life -- I just want to have peace. I can say, when I went back to [the Seahawks facility] the other day, my competitive juices came right back. So I don't know, man, I'm kind of caught in between right now."
Thomas also tweeted about being around his teammates and how it motivates him. It's obviously a different feeling for him when he's at home with the family.
It was great being around the V-MAC and in meetings today. Immediately my mind started to compete..wishing my teammates continued success.— Earl Thomas (@Earl_Thomas) December 19, 2016
But Thomas maintains that his original tweet about retirement wasn't just something that came out in the spur of the moment following a serious injury, although emotions certainly played a factor in it.
"I mean ... of course emotions were taking over me. But I was still thinking clearly in my eyes. I still kind of feel the same way," Thomas said. "It's a lot of pressure when you play in this game and I play at a high level and my teammates expect me to do what I do. It's all about recommitting myself and I don't know -- I never want to step on the football field half-hearted. When I got out there I want to be out there with my balls hanging -- I don't want to say my balls hanging, but just no fear.
"If I have any doubts, I don't want to play the game."
Thomas also points out, correctly, that football consumes his life. When he's playing in the NFL full time he's got a lot less time to be a dad, husband, son, friend, etc. It's more than just the physical toll.
"Everything in my life is really affected by the game. Even my time with my daughter, my wife, my mom," Thomas said. "The way you eat, the way you've got to take care of your body, caught up in training. It's hard to be well-rounded when you're always thinking about football. And I definitely want to be better as a man and not just a football player. So I started to think about things like that and it has me thinking."
So the expectation is Thomas won't retire. He pretty obviously loves the game and loves being around his teammates. But there's not a 100 percent guarantee he'll be back next year -- although it's also possible the very reason he thinks about leaving (because he's away from the game) will allow him to recharge and come back better than ever.