Browns’ Joe Thomas: NFL offseason workouts are too much


In an ordinary offseason, NFL players already would have spent plenty of time at minicamps and organized team activities, had film study with coaches and workouts with the strength and conditioning staff. During the lockout there’s been none of that, and Browns tackle Joe Thomas says there’s something to be said for the way things have gone this year.

In Thomas’s opinion, the ordinary offseason schedule gives players more work than they need, to the point that it might be counterproductive.

You certainly don’t need as much as we had,” Thomas said on 102.3 the Ticket in Denver, via “Even in my rookie year, by the time the regular season started I’m thinking, ‘Man is this thing ever going to start?’ I didn’t even feel like a rookie at the end of training camp because you go through six weeks of training camp, OTA’s, two minicamps, you’ve got preseason games, and the volume is incredible. It’s something you’ve never seen before. Probably more practices than you had in your entire college career up to the first regular season game.”

Players might be rusty at the beginning of the season, Thomas says, but they also might be fresh at the end.

“You kinda take a step back and you get a chance to think about other things and refocus your mind and get your body a little bit fresh,” Thomas said. “The season is going to feel shorter and your body is going to be healthier at the end of the year and I think the mind will be a little fresher. You may see, at the beginning the football not being as good, but at the end I think you may see guys that are more fresh and more ready to go after it.”

From Thomas’s perspective, that’s the lockout’s silver lining.

44 responses to “Browns’ Joe Thomas: NFL offseason workouts are too much

  1. If there is better play and less injuries it may change the way teams approach the pre-season in the future.

  2. I agree that players will feel better towards the end of the season, but unfortunately I think we’re going to see a rash of injuries in preseason, training camp, and the first few weeks of the season…. if there is a 2011 season.

  3. Umm Joe, you play for the Cleveland Browns.

    You guys need as much practice as you can get. Your attitude is why you guys lose year in and year out.

  4. You play a game for a living.
    22 weeks of playing football, IF you go to the Superbowl.
    6 weeks training camp
    2 OTAs
    4 Preseason games

    34 weeks..
    Which means he gets 18+ weeks off a year. And since the Browns haven’t made the playoffs in forever, it’s 22 weeks for him!!

    If he doesn’t like it, I’ll take his job!

    Freakin whiner!!

  5. A man like Joe Thomas can’t complain about anything involving his work because he’s a millionaire. Great logic. ‘Redrew’, we’re all sorry you don’t make any money, but don’t sit their and tell people they can’t vent about work because you took likely took the easy way out in life. Typical loser mentality.

  6. *A man like Joe Thomas can’t complain about anything involving his work because he’s a millionaire. Great logic. ‘Redrew’, we’re all sorry you don’t make any money, but don’t sit there and tell people they can’t vent about work because you likely took the easy way out in life. Typical loser mentality.

  7. So tell me Joe…….What are u suppose to do, sit around and chill.

    Its your job, its why your getting paid!! Just lost respect for this POS…wants to get paid, but doesn’t want to work.

  8. Joe Thomas is one of the more down to earth guys in the NFL. He decided he would rather go fishing with family then attend the NFL draft. Some players make more sense than others, wish he were a Packer.

  9. Joe Thomas is a great player on the field, and a great person off it. He rarely ever opens his mouth about anything, so when he does I tend to listen. I’m sure an overwhelming majority of players feel the same way. I don’t call it being lazy or anything like that. A full 16 game season is very physically draining, so maybe shortening off season workouts would help players stay more fresh throughout the season and even prevent some injuries.

  10. He should have “I’d rather be fishing” tatooed to his forehead! Such an outlook on his chosen career. He should be thanking his maker every day for the opportunity to be allowed to play a game for a living. This coming from the same guy who decided to go fishing instead of showing up for the NFL draft. I’m throwing the work ethic flag right at you Joe.

    Maybe Lerner should just let you fish all offseason and have a carrier pigeon deliver your enormous checks to you while you sit on your AZZ and do nothing. That sounds like a GREAT idea. Then…you can show up when you want to…and maybe magically the team will gel…without enough practice reps…into a superbowl contender.

    They should fire this whole bunch of pre-madonna so-called warriors and shove their silver spoons where the sun don’t shine. Then go hire some guy who’s been eating out of a garbage can in Samoa somewhere to play O-Line. He might not understand the game as much…but I’ll bet the farm that he’ll do everything in his power to be there and earn ever single penny.

  11. He didn’t say he’s not working out. He didn’t say he’s not keeping in shape. He didn’t say practicing is bad. He certainly didn’t say that he’s happy about the lockout or enjoying an extended vacation like some other players in the league have said. All he said, ALL he said, was that the amount of practicing in a regular offseason isn’t truly necessary, and if it were lightened up guys might be fresher later in the season. It’s a fairly valid point. It’s not “laziness” or a lack of work ethic. He made a point about planning for optimal performance at the most important time.

  12. I didn’t take Thomas’ comments as complaining. He was likely asked about the impact of the lockout and gave an honest assessment of how he feels the quality of play may be affected (effected?) this year.

  13. Nearly everyone commenting here is perpetuating the “football player as inhuman superhero who should shut up and entertain me” myth.

    But what Thomas is saying is a fairly straightforward concept: The modern NFL physically destroys the bodies of the men who play it, and having an opinion about more effective ways to approach player health is hardly lazy or entitled. In fact, it is absolutely essential to the longevity of the game.

    So unless you want the sport to be dead in 10 years, embrace some progressive thinking on the subject, otherwise you might have to actually spend some time with your family on the weekends.

  14. Big difference between college and the pros, you don’t get to start the few weeks of the season shaking the rust off playing Our Ladies of the Poor and Christian Science Junior College. You also only end up playing 8 or 9 games that actually mean anything. If you don’t want to fully prepare so games that are played week 1 are up to snuff with the rest of the season, they how about you guys take a tiered salary and only get paid half as much for the first few games, and charge the fans half as much for their tickets.

  15. Joe remembers hearing about the good old days when players couldn’t attend off season workouts because they had to get another full time job to make ends meet. He’s a good dude though that you’d love to have on your team.

  16. With this type of attitude, it’s no wonder the Browns always stink it up. After watching them play last year, they looked like they didn’t practice much at all. Shut it Joe. Play ball and just be thankful that’s what you do for a living.

  17. Why the bashing? The guy is just saying that he thinks the NFL might be BETTER if players used up less of their energy in offseason workouts and had more in reserve for the regular and postseason games.

    This reminds me of recent studies on the pointless practice of keeping medical residents up for 48 hours straight just so they “pay their dues.” Turns out- tired doctors are lousy doctors. I’d rather have the rested, competent doctor working on me than the exhausted, bleary guy who’s trying to prove he can “hack it,” wouldn’t you?

  18. He is right. The Browns don’t really need an off-season program at all, since they’re such a fine tuned machined anyway.

  19. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume this is one player not in favor of the proposed 18 game schedule.
    Personally I don’t mind the idea provided they eliminate all pre-season games, and I mean all friggin 4 of them. Teams would just need to work out their issues in practice and maybe one scrimmage. That way no one has to pay for the pre-season crap and let the chips fall where they may on that week #1 kickoff.

  20. Met Joe thomas at a bar in madison, bit disappointed actually. thought he would be more humble


    Wait, so you are saying a pro athlete wasn’t in the mood to listen to some drunk armchair QB tell him how he should play or how he’d “run the team” while he’s trying to enjoy himself at a bar with his friends? Amazing.

  21. What Thomas says is true for the NFL’s elite…but there are several average players that could and need development…it’s a TEAM game – and the elite are just gonna have to deal with it, and maybe even help out the younger or developing players

  22. that might make sense to you Joe as a modern day gladiator, but the reality is the higher paying fans (especially in cold weather locations) come out when the weather is nice… which is NOT in November and December in places like Cleveland.

  23. Damn right I’m jealous. Doesn’t make my point any less valid. Just because the game is hard in their body doesn’t mean they couldn’t still go to the facilities every day.

  24. Sitting by your computer eating Doritos, drinking beer, and blasting Joe Thomas for being soft.

    I have a friend at the Cleveland Clinic that’s a Doctor. He told me 25 years ago that on Monday morning when the Browns send over a group of players to be examined it’s worse than looking at people that have been in major auto accidents.

  25. Playing devil’s advocate, how would he know since his 4 seasons with the Browns to date have been awful.

    Maybe you could take that from a player on a good team, but his team hasn’t won more than 5 games since he got there, so he doesn’t really know if it’s too much or not. I’m just saying.

  26. Joe Thomas plays for the Cleveland Browns which is a team that has something like a 60% injury rate during the season for it’s starters.

    Also this isn’t a 3rd string practice squad player talking. Two of the best defenses in the NFL play against him twice a year and have to plan for him and don’t do a good job of it. The guy has made the pro bowl every year he’s been a pro and is probably a future hall of famer. If he says off season workouts are too much, he’s probably RIGHT. Imagine how much better his team would be if they didn’t almost consistantly end their season with their 3rd string players starting due to injuries to their starters.

  27. So yesterday I said Joe is the best LT in the league. And 49 of you gave me a thumbs down for it. Lo and behold, ESPN power ranks the best LTs in the NFL and who comes out number 1? That’s right. Joe Thomas. That’s Yahtzee, b*****s.

  28. Waaahhh! Longetivity….Waaaahhh…too many practices. I guess ya never heard of the saying “practice makes perfect”. It’s the malcontents on this team that keep it from being perfect.

    I’m glad Mangini started to weed some of them out before he left. I hope Holmgren…or whoever this new coach is…keeps up with it. The last thing we need is this team becoming another Cincinnati.

    Go tell the players that used to wear leather helmets and get paid $100 to play this game that practices are too rough or that it’ll affect the “longevity of the game”. The game’s been around for quite a while without pansies! Maybe they should just make it a no contact sport where if you get within 5 feet of another player you must fall to the ground and freeze…sorta like freeze tag…with less chance of getting hurt. That’ll make all of these “gladiators” happy.

  29. I am a huge Joe Thomas fan, but I can’t help but to disagree with his statements.

    “I didn’t even feel like a rookie at the end of training camp because you go through six weeks of training camp, OTA’s, two minicamps, you’ve got preseason games, and the volume is incredible.”

    Ummmmm, I think that’s kind of the point Joe. Ya know, to get you ready to play at the next level.

    “You may see, at the beginning the football not being as good, but at the end I think you may see guys that are more fresh and more ready to go after it.”

    While I completely agree that guys will definitely be rusty at the beginning, I don’t recall seeing the quality of football go down as the year went on. Likewise, I don’t see a void of players “ready to go after it” when championships are on the line.

    Some people will be affected by season’s end, but then, that’s football, we aren’t playing golf here.

    OTAs, practice, and even pre-season is light work compared to a regular season game and it gets rookies especially up to speed for the next level.

  30. I assume none of the people questioning Joe’s toughness has ever played football or have degrees in sports medicine. Why do you think the longer the season goes, the higher the injury rate? It’s because the physicality of the sport wears the body down. Saying “practice makes perfect” is like saying if you get into enough car accidents in your life, your body will eventually be immune to them. The Cleveland Browns often loose players at the beginning of the season due to injury. If what Joe is saying is the case, that explains it perfectly.

    Also to the “Back in the day guys used to wear leather helmests” person. I would ask them about it but most of them were crippled and/or brain dead by the time they hit 50 and the rest are crying to the NFL PA* and owners because their medical bills are rediculously high.

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