Fresh from 10,000th straight snap, Browns left tackle Joe Thomas arguably has received more attention in one week than he has in his entire career combined. And for good reason — offensive linemen typically get ignored.
“The only time we get noticed is if we do something poorly,” Thomas said earlier this week on PFT Live. “If we give up a sack or a penalty or miss a block that’s when we get noticed. So it’s easy to hate the stress and the anxiety that builds up before a game.”
So why be an offensive lineman?
“Well I think when I decided to be an offensive lineman a long time ago, it’s almost like you have to understand that you’re just going to be treated like a mushroom forever and you’re not gonna get any of the credit and you’re gonna get all of the blame and they’re gonna throw you in a dark corner and throw poop on you and expect you to grow and flourish,” Thomas said. “So I think you just have that expectation and that understanding that when you decide to be an offensive lineman that’s just the way how your life is gonna be.”
Thomas echoed the mushroom characterization on Thursday when asked by reporters about the presence of a mushroom on a T-shirt he was wearing.
“As offensive linemen, we consider ourselves mushrooms because we get thrown in the corner of a dark room and people pile poop on us and then expect us to grow,” Thomas said. “So that is why we are mushrooms.”
The reference to throwing poop on the linemen was figurative, not literal. It wasn’t that way back in the ’50s, however, when the Giants and Colts played an exhibition game in Louisville a week after the circus had been in town. Former Colts defensive tackle Art Donovan and his teammates threw the residual elephant dung at the offensive linemen.