Now that the 2018 National Football League draft is complete, there are 32 football teams happy that they have made their respective teams stronger by filling in some of the weak spots in their respective rosters.

The Houston Texans selected a free safety with their first pick in the third round and offensive lineman they expect will play in his rookie year along with an outside linebacker with a shoulder injury.

New Orleans wanted defensive end Marcus Davenport so badly they traded up in the first round to get him.

Dallas solved a big need by drafting an inside linebacker and an offensive guard and could earn a starting job this season.

And the Seattle Seahawks made big headlines with the feel-good story of drafting outside linebacker Shaquem Griffin, who helped lead the University of Central Florida to an undefeated season despite playing with a prosthetic left hand that was amputated when he was a youngster. He posted a 4.38 in the 40-yard sprint during the pro combine.

But all is not hunky-dory with both the Cowboys and the Seahawks because Dallas owner Jerry Jones is determined to trade for Orange native Earl Thomas and Seattle head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider are just as hell-bent on keeping Earl in Seattle.

The Seahawks realize that Thomas has much greater value to their team today than any draft picks they would have gotten in a trade with the Cowboys or any other NFL team.

This Thomas trade to Dallas is probably more speculation by the media than in real life, especially by the Seattle Times and the Dallas Morning News.

Seahawks fans are worried that with Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett already wearing another team’s uniform and Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril unlikely to return, Thomas is the only defensive link to the franchise’s glory days.

The media already dreamed up the trade in Round 2—Seattle using Thomas as traded bait to acquire additional draft picks. And the prime target was the Cowboys’ 50th choice in the second-round.

That rumor was quelled when Dallas grabbed Texas Longhorns offensive lineman Connor Williams but it certainly piqued the interest of ardent fans who would have loved to obtain an offensive lineman for Thomas.

Schneider acknowledged that he had talked to a number of teams on Friday about Thomas, but he and Carroll said that was mainly the result of teams hearing talk in the media of his availability.

“The Cowboys still have designs to acquire Thomas even with the draft concluded,” wrote David Moore Monday of the Dallas Morning News. “Does that mean more Thomas rumors over a trade neither side has had enough desire to actually pull off?”

The two teams actually have until the in-season trade deadline to work out a deal. The Seahawks aren’t bashful about shifting their roster in the middle of a campaign. But in-season trades should make teams stronger.

“This type of trade would disrupt the chemistry and going backward at least for the 2018 season and the Seahawks didn’t even draft any safeties,” Moore writes.

Actually, the Seahawks could have Earl for the 2019 season by merely putting the “franchise tag” on him and paying him what an average NFL starting free safety is worth. There’s only one thing wrong—Earl Thomas is not an average safety. He’s a four-time Pro Bowler.

And if Seattle is not willing to give Earl top free safety money, he definitely will become a free agent in 2019. But if the Cowboys aren’t willing to pony up Thomas’ true value, it’s unlikely Seattle’s best defender will leave.

Thomas’ status with Seattle in 2018 has been a prominent question ever since he took a detour to the Dallas locker room after a Seahawks 21-12 victory in Dallas Dec. 24 and advised Cowboys’ coach Jason Garrett to “come get me if Seattle ever kicks me to the curb.”

Carroll spoke to the press recently and told them, “Earl’s a great football player. You may have looked at it like he wasn’t going to be here. We didn’t look at it like that. There was a lot of speculation on your guys end of it. We’ve been counting on Earl being here the whole time.”

Schneider said recently he doesn’t expect Thomas to hold out for the upcoming training camp based on what he has heard from his agent. And Earl seems constitutionally incapable of playing at another level than maniacal intensity.

Maniacal intensity. That’s a good one!!!

KWICKIES…I’m baffled as to what school rules Lamar softball coach Holly Bruden could have broken to be placed on “administrative leave with pay.” It sounds to me like the new athletic director is flexing his muscles to show everyone who’s boss just as the Lady Cardinals are fighting for a berth in the upcoming Southland Conference softball tournament.

And speaking of Lamar, the Cardinals won the 2018 Southland Conference Men’s Tennis Tournament Championship Sunday and will represent the SLC for the third straight year in the NCAA Tournament.

Bridge City Head Football Coach and Athletic Director Dwayne Dubois has decided to go back to where he came from—Hardin Jefferson. Usually when a head football coach makes a lateral move (actually he’s going to a smaller school enrollment-wise) it’s either because of more money or the talent well is running dry at Cardinal Nation. Hopefully it’s not the latter reason.

It appears that the same distance runners who have dominated the local scene are being rewarded for their hard work as Little Cypress-Mauriceville’s Eli Peveto and Orangefield’s Madison Helm won their respective regional meets last week and are headed to the upcoming Class 4A state track meet. Also earning a berth in the state meet are LCM’s Christian Weatherly (triple jump) and Bridge City’s Max Baker (long jump).

Besides trying to land Earl Thomas, Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is trying to persuade Hall of Fame-bound tight end Jason Witten to play another year. Witten has been offered a job in the ESPN Monday Night Football television booth.

Michigan State extended its streak of having at least one player selected in the NFL for the past 78 years when Brian Allen was taken by the LA Rams in the fourth round.

Former Lufkin Hudson High School and Texas Longhorn Brandon Belt recently set a major league record by having a 21-pitch at-bat for the San Francisco Giants. Belt is living up to his name by belting the ball for a .315 batting average in games through Sunday.

The NBA Conference semifinals have begun with the Houston Rockets trouncing the Utah Jazz 110-96 Sunday to take a 1-0 lead. Golden State downed the New Orleans Pelicans 123-101. The Eastern Conference pits Toronto-Cleveland and Boston Philadelphia.

JUST BETWEEN US…After dropping two of three games to the Los Angeles Angels, the Houston Astros found their hitting shoes and defeated the Oakland A’s 11-0 and 8-4 this weekend as they prepared to close out their 10-game home stand with four games against the surging New York Yankees. The series began Monday night at Minute Maid Park and concludes with an afternoon game tomorrow(Thurs.) beginning at 1:10 p.m. Tonight’s game (Wed.) will be nationally televised on ESPN starting at 7 p.m.