Joe Thomas' snaps streak joins Browns Ring of Honor

Thomas has no regrets about retirement, enjoying watching Browns turnaround

Daryl Ruiter
October 14, 2018 - 1:33 pm
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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Sunday afternoon’s 38-14 drubbing by the Los Angeles Chargers was fitting on the day the Browns honored Joe Thomas’ consecutive snaps streak by placing it in the ‘Ring of Honor’ at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Over Thomas’ 11-year career, the Browns didn’t win much – 48 games to be exact – and they lost a ton – 119 of them with 113 coming after his 2007 rookie campaign.

“It’s a very emotional, special moment for me,” Thomas said. “I’m honored to come back and have the team do some special things for me and make me feel pretty good about some of the things I did during my career.”

Thomas wasn’t sure how emotional he would get when the black drape fell and revealed 10,363 on the façade of the upper deck but the presumed future Hall of Famer kept it together enough to rile up the Dawg Pound with the “Here we go Brownies, here we go” chant while wearing a Baker Mayfield No. 6 orange jersey.

“I’m an emotional person. I have been known to cry in a few locker rooms,” Thomas said.

Well over 50 friends, family and former teammates joined Thomas to celebrate the tribute, which will likely be the first of many to come – a Hall of Fame enshrinement celebration, his name joining the snaps streak in the ‘Ring of Honor’ and maybe even No. 73 being retired are probably in the offing over the next 5-10 years.

“We will see. I’m just taking this one day at a time,” Thomas said. “There is a large group of former players and friends from Cleveland that are here celebrating with me today because they were just as big a part of my snap streak as anyone else. For me, that is going to be a lot of fun.”

Unfortunately, that was the only fun Thomas’ former team had against the Chargers.

Thomas, a 10-time Pro Bowler and eight-time All Pro who played in 167 consecutive games before tearing his left triceps tendon against Tennessee last October, has no regrets about retirement.

“There was no reason for me to retire,” Thomas said. “I love the game. I love being in the locker room. The paychecks were really good, but my body just couldn’t do it anymore.

“If it weren’t for that, I’d be out there today.”

Thomas has adjusted to life after football, including losing 50 pounds. He and his wife added a fourth child this fall, and he’s dipped his toe in a variety of media opportunities with the Browns as well as NFL Network.

“I kind of wanted to just take little bites at a bunch of little apples and see what I liked, see what I was good at and maybe after this year, see where the opportunities lie and hopefully I would have a better idea of what the next chapter is going to look like,” Thomas said. “I did a lot of studying of players that I played with and guys that I knew and what their transition was like. I tried to figure out where the common pitfalls were hopefully to try to avoid them. The biggest pitfalls I have seen of former players is they are sure that they want to do one thing and they jump both feet into something, and they don’t really know anything about it. Then after a year, they are in this situation where they are unhappy and it kind of compounds the pressure of missing the game and the locker room.

“I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to act like I knew something about some business and just jump in only to be unhappy.”

Thomas is enjoying watching rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield lead the Browns, who have already won more games this season than the final two years of his career.

Coincidence?

“No, absolutely not,” the always affable and self-deprecating Thomas said. “There is a direct correlation. They finally got rid of the dead weight at left tackle.”

Despite the final score Sunday, Thomas remains the eternal optimist and is excited about what is to come for long-suffering football fans in Cleveland.

“The sky is the limit,” Thomas said. “They have so many good young players. This team is well positioned for the future.”