By WC Peters
In the 2007 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns made arguably the greatest pick in their franchise history. They drafted a left tackle out of Wisconsin by the name of Joe Thomas. Thomas endured himself to the Browns fan base in a number of ways and the first was when he turned down the NFL’s offer to go to the draft in New York City to go fishing with his father in Wisconsin. Thomas became the 3rd pick in the draft that year, and a staple on the Browns offensive line, becoming a perennial pro bowler in his rookie year. His most enduring quality was that he played well every single snap until he tore his tricep halfway through the 2017 season. Thomas played over 10,000 consecutive snaps for the Browns despite playing on some historically bad teams. Thomas has played for 5 coaches in his eleven-year career, and during that time he was a six-time all pro and ten-time pro bowler. He has protected numerous quarterbacks that definitely were not worthy of his protection, and all throughout their struggles you never heard one complaint out of JT. In the world we live in, with high priced, spoiled athletes whining and crying about not being treated fairly or being disrespected because they feel they are worth more than the $10 million dollar contract they just signed. Thomas could have complained and made a big stink in the media, demanded a trade to a contender and I do not think anyone in Cleveland would have said a word, but he didn’t. Thomas just went to work the same way he would have if he would have played on the Patriots instead. Selfishly, I wish Joe would have stuck it out at least one more year so that his last two years would not read 1-15 and 0-16. In five years Joe Thomas will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, they should start working on his bust right now.
I’m not sure what the future holds for the 33-year-old Thomas, but what I am sure of is that he will attack it with the same professionalism as he did his NFL job. I have not heard the podcast that he is on, in fact, I just downloaded it to hear today’s edition. Everyone tells me that it is awesome so I’m going to give it a listen. Listening to the Tomahawk podcast, Thomas just confirmed what everyone thought his body was and is beat up to the point he could not function for a few days. There is no doubt he was feeling the way he was because he loves the team and the game, but he could not do it anymore. The fact that he is worth $52 million makes the transition easier to the next chapter of his life. I think he is going to go into the media and I think he will dominate the Cleveland media the way he did defensive lineman. Here’s to you, Joe! Thank you for eleven great years for the Browns, thank you for always being a professional and giving the fans and the city of Cleveland a bright spot during all of the misery. Enjoy your retirement, and wherever your life takes you, you deserve every good thing that happens to you.