Snaps streak tribute the first of many honors on the way for Joe Thomas

10,363 to join Browns 'Ring of Honor' at FirstEnergy Stadium

Daryl Ruiter
October 12, 2018 - 2:10 pm
Browns left tackle Joe Thomas

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Categories: 

Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – During a first quarter timeout Sunday afternoon, the Browns will unveil the number 10,363 in the Ring of Honor at FirstEnergy Stadium.

It’ll mark the first of what will be a few tributes to honor presumed future Hall of Fame left tackle Joe Thomas, who called it a career in March.

“I am extremely humbled by this honor,” Thomas said. “The snap streak was not something I set out to accomplish. All I ever wanted to do was to be there for my teammates and always do everything I possibly could to help this team win. It was important to always get back up and get in the huddle even when it wasn’t easy.

“For that number – 10,363 – to be forever on display in FirstEnergy Stadium among the likes of all-time greats like Jim Brown, Otto Graham, Lou Groza is something I take great pride in.”

The Ring of Honor was introduced in 2010 and included the team’s 16 Hall of Famers.

Thomas will officially join them sometime after 2023 when he is expected to be enshrined in Canton. For now, his 10,363 will have to do.

“I think Joe is going to be in the Hall of Fame someday so for him to go in the Ring of Honor for his snap count and just what he has done for the city and the work he has put in for Cleveland is pretty cool,” guard Joel Bitonio said. “He is kind of one of the first guys that I have played with that has had the opportunity to be recognized, and it is going to be fun. I am going to playing the game, but hopefully afterwards, I get to hang out with him and get some dinner or something like that. I know he is excited for this event. He has been talking it up this weekend. I know he is going to be really appreciative of the fans, and hopefully, we get a win to keep the fans happy after that ceremony.”

There is also the very real possibility that Thomas’ No. 73 will also be retired too in the coming years. The Browns only have five retired numbers: Otto Graham’s 14, Jim Brown’s 32, Ernie Davis’ 45, Don Fleming’s 46 and Lou Groza’s 76.

As for Sunday, the Browns are giving away 10,363 Joe Thomas commemorative bobbleheads to the first fans through the gates. Thomas will also serve as the ‘Dawg Pound captain’ and lead the “here we go Brownies chant” during the first timeout when his snaps streak is officially unveiled.

Thomas’ snaps and 167 games consecutive games played streaks came to an end last Oct. 21 against Tennessee when he tore his left triceps tendon.

“To watch and look back on his career and see what he has done, man, that is amazing to me,” head coach Hue Jackson said. “Nobody else has ever play that many [consecutive] snaps, and I do not know if anybody else will do that again for a long time. It just tells you how important football was to him. To go through all of the seasons that he went through when things did not go well, that does not happen in this league and I think that we all know that. I think what he has done, the way he played, the way that he conducted himself with class within this organization, the way he conducted himself out in the community and all of the good things that he did for this football team will never be forgotten. Joe Thomas is a class person and a great, great football player.”

At halftime the Ohio University marching band will perform and also pay tribute to Thomas.

Thomas, selected third overall in the 2007 NFL Draft, became the fifth player and the only lineman in NFL history to be selected to the Pro Bowl each of his first 10 seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Barry Sanders, Lawrence Taylor, Mel Renfro and Merlin Olsen. Thomas’ 10 Pro Bowls are a team record, surpassing Hall of Famers Jim Brown (nine) and Lou Groza (nine).

Thomas was the longest tenured member of the Browns and was selected to the Associated Press All-Pro team eight times, including six first-team honors.