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Former Seahawks safety Earl Thomas
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Seahawks’ Carroll: I’ll always love Earl Thomas because he’s ‘like my son’

Then-Seahawks safety Earl Thomas is carted off the field on Sept. 30, 2018 in Arizona. (AP)

Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens will bring a new challenge for the Seahawks — the first time they are up against former Seahawks safety Earl Thomas.

Facing a former teammate across the field is nothing new, but in the case of Thomas, the last time he was in a Seahawks uniform, he was flipping off the Seattle sideline while being carted off the field with a broken leg.

The September 2018 incident in Arizona was an instance of a long history of tension between Thomas and the Seahawks coming to a head that all stemmed from Thomas’ dissatisfaction with his contract.

But one person who is not dreading seeing Thomas again is his former mentor, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.

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Speaking on KIRO Radio’s Pete Carroll Show with Dori Monson on Friday, the coach said that he feels no ill will toward Thomas. In fact, he thinks of Thomas — as he does with all his players, past and present — like his own son.

“Our kids, they don’t always do the right thing. And sometimes, they have some horrific mistakes that they make in their time,” Carroll said. “How do we treat them afterward? How do we look at it? Do we dump them and kick them out and blast them? You make it through it, you help them figure out what went wrong and how they could have done better, and you love them through it.”

Carroll said that this wisdom and spirit of forgiveness come from years of life experience.

“I learned some hard lessons by blasting back at guys when they made mistakes … I remember really regretting a couple of interactions like that, and they just helped me to grow up,” he said. “I wanted to treat people the way that they should be treated, and not just the way that I reacted, the way that I impulsively responded to the situation.”

It’s an attitude that helps him deal with whatever players might throw at him.

“You don’t stop loving them because they’re [messing] up or having problems; you still love them,” he said.

He shares this positive outlook with the team members as much as he can. Whether during offseason meetings, on the field during practice, or even during lunch, Carroll always looks for what he calls “teachable moments.”

“It’s certainly an ongoing process for me to just keep hammering the things that we believe in … the lessons are never over, you just keep on teaching,” he said.

Listen to the Pete Carroll Show on Fridays at 12:30 p.m. during the Dori Monson Show on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. 

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