RENTON – Seahawks safety Earl Thomas will miss a game for the first time in his NFL career when the Seahawks play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Thomas, who was ruled out Friday with a hamstring injury, has played in 106 consecutive games since entering the league in 2010.
Thomas suffered a first-degree hamstring strain against the Eagles last week. When Thomas left the game, the Seahawks turned to safety Steven Terrell to replace him but Kelcie McCray has also played free safety.
The Seahawks also could be without starting center Justin Britt and cornerback DeShawn Shead against Tampa Bay.
Britt, who sprained his ankle last week against the Eagles, will be a game-day decision, coach Pete Carroll said. Carroll said Britt would be available even if he doesn’t start, meaning he would dress and be available in an emergency even if he isn’t healthy enough to start.
Britt didn’t practice this week, leaving rookie Joey Hunt to work with the first-team offense at center. Britt has blossomed at center in his third year and has become the Seahawks’ best and most consistent offensive lineman.
“He looks like he’s been playing there all his life,” Carroll said.
Shead, who also suffered a first-degree hamstring injury last weekend, will also be a game-time decision, but Carroll was optimistic after watching Shead in action Friday afternoon.
“I watched his workout, and he had an extraordinary workout just now,” Carroll said. “He’s as close as you can get. We’ll see what happens. We’ll go all the way to game day.”
The one-fingered symbol Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin flashed to offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, signaling his “happiness’’ over a play call to throw a pass to Russell Wilson in the red zone in the 26-15 victory last weekend over the Eagles, also proved somewhat costly.
It was confirmed Friday that Baldwin has been fined $12,154 by the NFL for what it considers an unsportsmanlike gesture (Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict also got the same fine for the same action in a game last week).
Baldwin explained Wednesday that the action was meant as a joke toward Bevell for taking away a chance to catch a touchdown in the red zone. After signaling his “displeasure’’ to Bevell, Baldwin threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Wilson, and for Wilson it was the first reception for a touchdown by a quarterback in team history.
“I’m sure you guys know now we have been begging for that play for a couple of weeks now, trying to get that done,’’ Baldwin said. “However, I didn’t want it in the red zone. I wanted the target in the red zone. Typically when we get in the red zone, all the receivers and all the tight ends, we are kind of lobbying to get the passes in the red zone so we can score the touchdowns. … It’s just the fact that we don’t want to literally be throwing away our targets in the red zone.’’
Bevell said Wednesday he took the gesture in the manner intended.
“Doug and I have a great relationship, first and foremost,’’ Bevell said. “And I think Doug in his excitement, when he heard the play called in the huddle and knowing that he was going to get an opportunity to make Seahawk history, he was really excited and he wanted to tell Bev he was No. 1, and he just messed up a little bit there.
“If I could inspire him to make that perfect pass, then I’ll go ahead and take it.’’
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