After going 1-31 over the last two seasons, the Cleveland Browns have plenty of needs they plan to address with picks in the 2018 NFL Draft and through free agency, but they are waiting on a decision to know if there will be another major position open for competition.
Following a mid-season injury, veteran left tackle Joe Thomas talked about needing time to discuss his future with family and close friends before deciding to return for the cheap jerseys final year of his contract or step away from the game once and for all.
“I’ve talked to Joe Thomas several times, and I think Joe is going to make a decision, hopefully, fairly soon here, but again, it’s on his time,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine.
“Joe has been a tremendous Cleveland Brown, has done anything and everything we’ve asked of him, so I think it’s only right to give him the opportunity to work through this and make the best decision for him.”
Thomas suffered a torn triceps tendon in his left arm in a 12-9 loss to the Tennessee Titans at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday, October 23.
On first-and-10 from Tennessee’s 27-yard line, Browns running back Duke Johnson ran behind the left side of the offensive line for a three-yard gain. Thomas emerged from the pile holding his left arm and writhing in pain as he fell to the turf.
Tended to for several moments on the field, Thomas was helped to his feet and walked to the sidelines while talking with Browns medical personal.
Prior to the injury, Thomas played 10,363 consecutive snaps, which is believed to be the longest such streak in NFL history.
“Joe and I have had numerous conversations,” Browns general manager John Dorsey said.
“I have greatly admired Joe from his playing days at Wisconsin all the way up to the Cleveland Browns. Anybody in his right mind knows how talented he is. With that said, I think he deserves a little bit of respect, and when it comes time for the proper decision, he’ll make it.”
In December of 2016, Thomas was selected to his 10th consecutive Pro Bowl, and went 10 for 10 in all-star game nods since entering the league via the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft out of the University of Wisconsin. Thomas was the first Browns player ever selected to participate in 10 Pro Bowls.
Former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins believes that offensive tackle Joe Thomas will return for another season in the NFL.
The two are co-hosts, along with Browns Senior Manager of Communications Dan Murphy, on the fast growing podcast ‘The ThomaHawk Show.’ Outside of Thomas’ family, there can not be many people who have spent more time around the lineman this off-season than Hawkins.
With that being said, Hawkins has stated in the past that he does not want to put friends in a situation to reveal information to him for this very reason. Everyone wants the inside scoop. The Toledo product has probably been able to glean some information about Thomas’ thought process though.
“If I was being honest, and he’s not going to like me speculating, I don’t think he is. I don’t think he’s going to retire. I think he is going to continue to play. I could be wrong,” Hawkins said on ‘The Bull & Fox Show’ on 92.3 The Fan.
There are a few reasons why Hawkins believes that Thomas will return.
“He’s a man of steel. I think he feels really good. A.) He loves Hue Jackson and B.) He feels really good about John Dorsey being able to bring the football talent in here right away to help them get more competitive. I don’t think he wants to miss that boat. The Browns are in a really good spot…in free agency, the draft, you name it. He’s put in the time here. He’s a legend to be honest. It would be a travesty for him to walk away at a time where he feels so confident in the direction of the franchise.”
Thomas has a cap hit of $14.25 million next season after the team re-structured his deal.
The Wisconsin product was the No. 3 overall selection in the 2007 NFL Draft. He played 10,363 consecutive offensive snaps before suffering a torn triceps tendon against the Tennessee Titans. Over the course of his 11 year career, he has made ten Pro Bowls.