The well-publicized holdout of Orange native Earl Thomas last season made many ardent football fans miffed at the six-time Pro Bowl and five-time All-Pro free safety for the Seattle Seahawks, thinking he was being greedy.

But if there’s one great quality Earl Thomas possesses off the football field is that he’s very adept at mapping out his future in the National Football League.

And when the Seahawks’ front office decided NOT to give Earl the same contract extension every NFL superstar is offered as their final year is about to begin, the talented All-Pro decided not to participate in the Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and the mandatory practices last spring and early summer.

He balked at joining the Seahawks during training camp last July and August and became an official holdout once the 2018 NFL season was set to begin in early September.

But Earl’s love of the game and his respect for his teammates and especially the loyal Seahawks’ fans who loved Earl convinced him to start the season with the team. He was supposed to play sporadically in the first couple of games to get used to the ferocious hitting that takes place during the regular season.

However, Earl being Earl was ready for the rigors of the game and was on the field most of the time. In fact, after three games Thomas led the league with his three interceptions.

The fourth game proved to be fatal to Earl Thomas’ season as he re-broke his leg and would be out for the remainder of the 2018 NFL season. And Earl decided right then and there that he would be a Seahawk no longer.

When his contract officially expired in early March, Earl decided to try free agency because the fabled Legion of Boom was no more.

Nearly every team in the league would have loved to have Earl Thomas on their respective rosters, but the terms of his contractual demands eliminated most of them.

Earl made it no secret that he really wanted to become a Dallas Cowboy. But Idiot Owner Jerry Jones played hard-to-get and didn’t really pursue Earl’s services.

So, Thomas turned his attention to the Kansas City Chiefs who were desperate to plug one of their big holes in the defensive secondary by getting a team leader back there at free safety.

And while the Chiefs’ front office was dragging its feet, the Baltimore Ravens came out of the blue and offered Earl’s agent the multi-year contract and the dollar amount Earl was seeking.

A couple of days later Earl Thomas had a new home, a new team in a new city in a new division and even in a new conference. He then attempted to work a deal with defensive cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who wore Earl’s No. 29 for the last two seasons.

Humphrey played a little hardball with Earl and demanded $100,000 payment for the jersey number. After Earl told him to take a flying leap, he found out Humphrey’s mother managed a track scholarship fund.

He got his No. 29 after donating what he called “a few bucks” to the fund and texted Humphrey’s mother “charitable donation coming your way.” Now Earl Thomas can continue wearing the same number he has for his entire NFL career.

Earl didn’t participate in any of the on-field spring team drills until he had medical clearance that his broken bone was 100 per cent healed. And that occurred just last week and he is now working with the rest of the team in the OTAs.

Local sports commentator Garrett Downing reported that Earl looked good and fluid at last weekend’s OTAs and was communicating well with his new teammates.

He told Earl it looked like he commands a lot of respect on the field to which Earl commented, “I lead by example and hit the ground running with this second opportunity to my NFL career.”

“He had a great week,” Head Coach John Harbaugh told Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. “Great anticipation and great ability to cover ground. He shows up in the right spots on a regular basis. That’s what great safeties do. He’s done a great job.”

Hensley noted that Earl is wearing a protective sleeve on his leg and that he “looked smooth” in a practice session open to the media.

How much will Earl Thomas be missed in Seattle? Seahawks’ fans will get an even closer look at Earl in a Ravens uniform when Baltimore makes a rare trip to Seattle in week 7.

KWICKIES…The injuries continue to pile up for our Houston Astros and the players from Class AAA Round Rock keep replacing these players on the Injury List.  Manager A.J. Hinch looks like a genius the way he inserts the right players in the right positions that does not affect the outcome of the games. Although the team is not hitting as well as normal, they just keep on winning after sweeping the A’s in Oakland last weekend, winning 12 of their last 13 games on the road and sweeping four straight series away from Minute Maid Park. Houston continued their current road trip with four games at the last-place Seattle Mariners which began Monday night.

And while on the subject of the Astros, ace pitcher Justin Verlander struck out eight A’s batters Saturday while winning 5-1 for his league-leading ninth victory against two losses and surpassing Cy Young for sole possession of 21st place on the all-time strikeout list. Verlander has 2,809 career strikeouts and trails only Yankee lefty C.C. Sabathia, who eclipsed 3,000 this season, as the only active pitcher ahead of him.

Former Beaumont West Brook slugger Jay Bruce went from a last-place team (Seattle) to a first-place team (Philadelphia Phillies) as the result of a trade last weekend. The deal will cost the Phillies only $2.75 million over the next 1½ seasons for the slugging outfielder.

Patrick Cantlay shot a torrid 64 Sunday to overtake Germany’s Martin Kaymer, who led Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament for 54 holes before faltering to a 72 Sunday. Cantlay fired the lowest final round by a winner in tournament history and it moved him into the list of the Top 10 golfers in the world. It was the second PGA Tour victory for the 27-year-old Californian.

The Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors are tied at 1-1 in the National basketball Association’s World Championship finals. The two teams meet again tonight at Golden State.

Texas Class 4A Boys High School State Champion Jack Burke of Little Cypress-Mauriceville made a great showing last weekend in the Texas Masters event at Brackenridge Park Golf Course. The junior-to-be finished in a tie for eighth place out of 78 golfers with rounds of 67-70-73—210.

JUST BETWEEN US…Texas Tech won the Lubbock Regional NCAA Baseball Tournament last weekend by whipping Army 11-2 Friday, Dallas Baptist 3-2 Saturday and Dallas Baptist again in Sunday’s championship game 3-0. Florida overpowered Army 13-5 Saturday on ESPN2 as my grandson Logan Smith pitched one inning late in the game for the Black Knights of West Point. Logan appeared in more than 20 games for Army, had a 2-3 record and an earned run average of around 3.50. He also averaged one strikeout per inning for the season and walked very few batters.