Earl Thomas skips OTA. No, it isn’t over for the Seahawks

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: Earl Thomas of the Seattle Seahawks (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: Earl Thomas of the Seattle Seahawks (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Earl Thomas is skipping the Seahawks OTA. You’d think he’s the only player to skip these voluntary activities. No he isn’t, and yes, they’re voluntary.

Since Earl Thomas declined to attend the Seahawks OTA, the gnashing of teeth and rending of clothing commenced once again. We’ve all known for months that Thomas wants a new extension to his contract. We’ve also known that he may hold out, although even that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. So the news that he’s skipping the OTA, or Organized Team Activities, shouldn’t be surprising. It would be much bigger news if he actually showed up for them.

Earl Thomas is hardly the only NFL player, or star player for that matter, who decided to skip the OTA. A cursory look at the headlines shows Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Julio Jones, Aaron Donald, Zack Martin, Le’Veon Bell, Khalil Mack…okay, my fingertips are sore now. Surely you see that Earl Thomas is hardly the only star player who found something more interesting to do in late May.

That’s basically the point. Guys like Jones, Bell, and Thomas really don’t have a lot to prove. I know that isn’t the point of the OTA, but there are a lot of players – most in fact – that need every opportunity to show they have what it takes to play in the league. Earl Thomas is clearly not one of those players.

Seattle Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks /

Seattle Seahawks

Voluntary is a real word

A key point to remember is this: the OTA sessions are voluntary. As in, it’s your choice to attend or not to attend. David Steele has this great piece in the Sporting News about the definition of “voluntary”, and how some people in the league interpret it. Writing about the mindset of too many in the league (and some fans):

"It’s as if they know what time of year it is. Or, it’s as if they know some player, coach, executive, reporter, commentator or fan is about throw a full-scale tantrum over a player missing a “voluntary” workout."

Some teammates aren’t too happy when a player skips the OTA. Steele gives a great example in his article. Even going back to college to work on your degree isn’t acceptable to some guys. Because showing up for four days of voluntary workouts are more important than completing your education. Right.

Earl Thomas isn’t going back to finish his degree, of course. There is some education involved, in that he’s attempting to school the Seahawks in his desire for a new contract. That isn’t exactly news, of course. For their part, Seattle doesn’t seem to be overly concerned about Thomas holding out. Just today, Pete Carroll said he expected him to be back for mini-camp, making the point that unlike the OTA, mini-camp is mandatory.

For the record, Frank Clark and Byron Maxwell aren’t around for the Seahawks OTA either. Now if Earl Thomas was in Frisco, Texas this week, you could start to worry. That’s where the Dallas Cowboys hold their OTA. So until that happens, no worries, 12s.