Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas announced on Wednesday that he will be retiring from the NFL. Thomas has played in the NFL for 11 seasons, all with the Cleveland Browns.
“This was an extremely difficult decision, but the right one for me and my family,” Thomas said via the team’s website. “Playing in the NFL has taken a toll on my body and I can no longer physically compete at the level I need to.”
“From the moment I was drafted, the city embraced me in a way that I could never fully describe,” Thomas said. “I am proud to call Cleveland home. The loyalty and passion of the fans is unmatched and it was an honor to play in front of them from the past 11 years. I would like to thank all of the coaches, teammates, staff, fans and everyone who has shown me support throughout my career. Even though I will be hanging up my cleats, I will always be a Cleveland Brown.”
The 33-year-old left tackle was drafted with the 3rd overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. He has been named a First-Team All-Pro six times in his career. He has made the Pro Bowl in every year of his career, except for this past season. Thomas tore his left tricep during Cleveland’s Week 7 game this year. The snap following the injury was the first offensive snap he missed in his career. It ended a streak of 10,363 consecutive snaps.
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The Browns announced in the press release that he will be enshrined into the team’s Ring of Honor during a home game during the 2018 season.
“Joe has been a pillar of our organization and one of the greatest to put on a Cleveland Browns uniform,” Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said. “We want to thank him for everything he has done for the Browns and the Northeast Ohio community. We should all strive for the standard Joe has set to always be available, put the team above yourself and always give maximum effort. One of the first ways we will acknowledge and honor his accomplishments is to enshrine the number 10,363 to recognize his consecutive snaps streak in the team’s Ring of Honor at a home game this season. It also won’t be long before he takes his rightful place down the road in Canton at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
But Thomas was not only a great player, he was a great person in the community. He is the only player in team history to earn the Walter Payton Man of the Year distinction multiple times. He as awarded the distinction three times, 2010, 2012, and 2016. He was awarded the Browns’ Salute to Service Award recipient the past two seasons.
Thomas has begun a successful podcast, “The ThomaHawk Show”, with former Browns receiver Andrew Hawkins this year. Thomas is expected to take a media job following his career.