Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas retires after 11 seasons

Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas retires after 11 seasons

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Joe Thomas can officially go on the Hall of Fame clock. 

The longtime Cleveland Browns left tackle announced his retirement Wednesday, a bit of a surprising move for a beloved player who never reached the playoffs but opted not to be part of the franchise's latest rebuild.

“This was an extremely difficult decision, but the right one for me and my family,” Thomas said in a statement. “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. I am proud to call Cleveland home. The loyalty and passion of Browns 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.”

He further explained his physical deterioration in his podcast, The ThomaHawk Show.

“My mind is good, but my body is not willing, and I think that’s where I am," said Thomas.

He added: "For me, looking down the barrel of a knee replacement, I think that definitely becomes a decision where you’re like, ‘Hey, this football has been amazing, it’s been more than I could ever have expected, but you have to take other things into consideration. ... The last two to three years of my career it’s been almost impossible for me to practice."

A six-time all-pro, Thomas made the Pro Bowl in each of his 10 full seasons — only one of five players in league history to accomplish such a feat (and the lone one not yet in Canton).

The third overall pick of the 2007 draft, Thomas didn't miss a snap until last year. His streak of 167 consecutive starts and 10,363 straight plays ended Oct. 22 when he tore a triceps against the Titans.

“Joe means so much to me both personally and professionally,” said coach Hue Jackson. “Joe has been not just a tremendous Cleveland Brown, but one of the best to ever play in the National Football League. I appreciate everything he has done for this organization and not just on the field, his leadership and what he brought to the locker room, as a coach you couldn’t ask for a better captain than Joe Thomas.

"He earned the respect of teammates and peers around the league for the way he worked. To play 10,363 consecutive snaps, what a tremendous accomplishment. I don’t know if something like that will ever be matched again.” 

***

Follow Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis

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Source link : https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/browns/2018/03/14/cleveland-browns-tackle-joe-thomas-retires-after-11-seasons/423371002/
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Publish date : 2018-03-14 18:09:38
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