The Baltimore Ravens announced a significant roster move on Sunday. The team cut former All-Pro safety Earl Thomas after a fight with teammate Chuck Clark. His tenure with the team only lasted one season after a massive four-year, $55 million contract that included $32 million guaranteed.
"We have terminated S Earl Thomas' contract for personal conduct that has adversely affected the Baltimore Ravens," the team confirmed with a statement on Twitter. Reports surfaced early on Sunday that the organization was examining options to deal with Thomas and his contract. Releasing him was on the table, as was a trade with the Dallas Cowboys, the Houston Texans or San Francisco 49ers. Ultimately, the Ravens just severed ties and made Thomas a free agent.
The incident with his teammate occurred on Friday at the team's facility. Thomas blew a coverage on a play, and Clark got on him for the mistake. The former first-round pick threw a punch, and Clark tried to go after him, but several teammates stepped in to stop the fight. The Athletic reported that the incident angered many members of the Ravens, prompting the team's request for Thomas to remain at home. Two days later, the organization cut ties with the seven-time Pro Bowl safety.
Thomas later posted about the incident on his Instagram page, writing that he had made a mental error. This post, which was deleted hours later, showed Clark angrily throwing his helmet into the ground after the play. The safety said that he tried to calmly explain the incident but "built up aggression turned into me getting into it with a teammate."
This brushup is not the first altercation with a teammate during his one season with the Ravens. He previously confronted defensive tackle Brandon Williams after a game against the Cleveland Browns. He questioned why the longtime defender didn't fight through a knee injury to play during the AFC North battle.
Apart from the two incidents with his teammates, Thomas also reportedly missed meetings or arrived late. This includes a team meeting ahead of the Week 8 bye, which Thomas skipped after starting his vacation early. He also did not show up for a season-ending team meeting following a surprising loss to the Tennessee Titans during the AFC Divisional Round. He was also reportedly late for at least one position meeting during training camp.
While he remains a productive player and a likely future Hall of Famer, the Ravens decided to part ways and deal with the contract implications. This move surprised some fans, but CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora said that the team's leadership council approached head coach John Harbaugh and "made it clear" that they did not want Thomas on the team.