BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Just three weeks before the season opener, the Baltimore Ravens announced the release of starting safety Earl Thomas, a stunning move that comes after a confrontation with a teammate at practice on Friday.
His contract was terminated for “personal conduct.”
The team said the conduct “adversely affected the Baltimore Ravens.”
“Well, I think the statement speaks for itself,” said Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh. “There’s really not much more to add to that. I’m just planning on leaving it at that at this point.”
And with that, Earl Thomas leaves Baltimore, just one year into a four year $55 million contract- with guaranteed pay the Ravens can avoid because they cut Thomas for cause, but something the player is likely to fight in a grievance.
Thomas was sent home from practice after an on-field confrontation with teammate and fellow safety Chuck Clarke on Friday. Thomas was not at practice on Saturday.
Speaking with reporters following Friday’s practice, Head Coach John Harbaugh said he didn’t know what led to the fight.
“It just lasted longer than it needed to, for me,” Harbaugh said. “You’re going to have these things in training camp. You’re going to have … Tempers are going to flare, sure. It happens every training camp, especially right about now, probably. But I don’t like them when they extend like that and eat into our reps. We’re going to have to find out why and make sure that doesn’t happen. We need to keep our eye on the prize, which is preparing for the Browns.”
The Ravens signed Thomas, who formerly played for the Seattle Seahawks, in March 2019.
While Thomas is considered a future Hall of Famer for his standout years with the Seattle Seahawks- he struggled to fit in with the Ravens.
Multiple reports indicate he missed meetings and his dedication was questioned by his teammates.
Thomas posted his reaction to his release on social media, saying, “Appreciate the Ravens organization for the opportunity. Had a great run. Wish things would have ended differently, but you live and you learn,”
He thanked General Manager Eric Decosta and wished the team well.
DeShon Elliot steps up as a starting safety with Thomas gone. Also notable: MVP Quarterback Lamar Jackson missed practice for a second straight day.
Harbaugh referred to Jackson having an unspecified soft tissue injury but said he’ll not discuss injuries any further.