Seahawks lose Earl Thomas for season

Earl Thomas
Seahawks safety Earl Thomas leaves the field on a cart after being injured against the Carolina Panthers in the first half on Dec. 4.
(Stephen Brashear / Associated Press)

The Seattle Seahawks will be without safety Earl Thomas, arguably their most important defensive player, for the rest of the season including the playoffs because of a broken lower left leg. 

Thomas suffered a fractured tibia in a collision with fellow safety Kam Chancellor in the second quarter of Sunday night’s 40-7 win over Carolina. It’s the first major injury of Thomas’ career. He had played 106 consecutive games before missing Seattle’s loss at Tampa Bay last week with a hamstring issue.

Rivera moves on

Carolina Coach Ron Rivera said he was “very comfortable” with his decision to bench league MVP Cam Newton for the start of Sunday’s game and is not worried about losing the faith of players in the locker room. 

Rivera said there was no underlying message in benching Newton for failing to wear a tie on a team flight. The coach said he’s enforced similar dress code violations in the past.


Zimmer back

Minnesota Coach Mike Zimmer returned to work after missing Thursday’s loss to Dallas because of surgery to repair a detached retina, and the Vikings said he is expected to coach Sunday’s game at Jacksonville. Special teams coach Mike Priefer ran the team Thursday, when it lost for the sixth time in seven games. 

Griffin to start?

Cleveland quarterback Robert Griffin III, who wasn’t expected to play again this season after breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the Sept. 11 season opener, practiced with the winless Browns and could start Sunday against Cincinnati. Coach Hue Jackson said “it is too soon” to make a determination.


Denver claimed veteran running back Justin Forsett off waivers from Detroit to replace Kapri Bibbs, who is on injured reserve with an ankle sprain. . . . Buffalo put receiver Percy Harvin on the season-ending reserve-non-football-illness list because of migraines, a month after luring him out of retirement. . . . Washington safety Will Blackmon and center Spencer Long are in concussion protocol. . . . Miami linebacker Kiko Alonso had surgery to repair a broken right thumb but might play Sunday against Arizona, Coach Adam Gase said.

Get our daily Sports Report newsletter