What the Deuce?

It slipped out during Pete Carroll’s postgame press conference on Sunday, and it probably will happen again soon.

A team secret? Sacred game plan information? An unannounced roster move?

Nope, none of those. Earl Thomas’ new nickname — “Deuce” — was introduced to the world, coinciding with the coming out party for the safety himself, who had two interceptions in the 27-20 win. Carroll let the moniker slip out before quickly clarifying that he was referring to Thomas and then rolling on with the press conference. It’s no wonder Carroll mentioned the nickname, though, since it has caught fire around the team and “Earl” has simply become “Deuce.”

But what’s in a name? And why “Deuce”?

Finding the answer is just as mysterious as the name itself. Ask any player, coach or staffer and you’re not going to discover the etymology of the moniker; nobody knows why they call the budding star “Deuce.” About the only person who knows the origin of the nickname is its originator, defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.

In the days after first-round draft pick Thomas arrived for the first minicamp at Seahawks headquarters in April, Bradley asked the rookie safety if anyone called him “Earl the Pearl.” Thomas shrugged it off, but Bradley realized he was onto something.

“I told him that there’s only one ‘Earl the Pearl,’” Bradley said, referring to famous basketball player Earl Monroe. “But he could be the second. So ‘Deuce’ was born.”

Bradley had another, more fatherly reason, too. The defensive coordinator said that he’d always liked the name “Deuce” and if he had another boy, he would’ve named him that. So the nickname represents Bradley and Thomas’ blossoming father-son relationship, in addition to the “Earl the Pearl” allusion.

“It’s a cool nickname,” Bradley said. “I really like it. And it’s catching on too.”

Earl Thomas has a new nickname, “Deuce,” thanks to defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. [Photo by Rod Mar, Seahawks.com]

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