Joe Thomas announces retirement

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Browns left tackle Joe Thomas is calling it a career after 11 seasons.

“This was an extremely difficult decision, but the right one for me and my family,” Thomas said, via the team website. “Playing in the NFL has taken a toll on my body and I can no longer physically compete at the level I need to.”

“From the moment I was drafted, the city embraced me in a way that I could never fully describe. I am proud to call Cleveland home. The loyalty and passion of the fans is unmatched and it was an honor to play in front of them from the past 11 years. I would like to thank all of the coaches, teammates, staff, fans and everyone who has shown me support throughout my career. Even though I will be hanging up my cleats, I will always be a Cleveland Brown.”

Thomas had marked the start of free agency today as his self-imposed deadline for a decision on his future. He had acknowledged at a fundraiser Tuesday night that he was excited about the Browns’ offseason moves, but that it might not be enough to bring him back for another season.

Thomas, who played 10,363 consecutive snaps before his injury last season, made 10 Pro Bowls and six times was voted All-Pro.

The Browns knew the longer it took Thomas to decide the less likely he was to return, which is why they pursued several tackles in free agency, including Nate Solder, who agreed to a deal with the Giants.

Cleveland did reach agreements with tackles Donald Stephenson and Chris Hubbard, but both have played primarily on the right side.

102 responses to “Joe Thomas announces retirement

  1. Has a better player ever been stuck on such a pathetic franchise?

    9 consecutive All-Pro teams from 2008-2016. 7x 1st team.

    .. I can’t think of another player I can say that about.

  2. I remember that playoff game that he dominated…oh wait

    He should join the media

    He seems to like to run his mouth a lot about other people’s business

  3. Give BB a chance to talk to him…he’ll be a Patriot next year. Who wants to lose almost every game they play? That would take the fight away from most people.

  4. The best player to never of played in a playoff game. The NFL is losing one of their last guys to look up to. Great individual career. Thank you Joe for protecting 1,241 different qb’s since 2007!

  5. One of my all time favorite players of the last decade! Guy played at such a high level consistently and always remained loyal to his team. See you in the HOF!

    – Ravens fan

  6. Dude has got mental toughness like no one else.

    Browns went 10-6 his rookie year and that was the closet he ever got to the postseason.

    The Browns won 11 games total from 2014-2017. Guy showed up and gave it his all every week despite getting no reward. Who else could do that for that long?

  7. Class, class, class. If the Browns don’t hire him immediately to some front office position, or possibly as a future coach in some capacity, they’re nuts.

  8. A true blue collar player who never went down and played his career at a very high level from snap 1 to snap 10,363. He has to be in the conversation with the GOAT’s at left tackle.

  9. I may not be a Browns fan, but I’ll always remember his NFL draft selection, because he was taken 3rd overall but had declined the invitation to attend the NFL draft. Why? Because he wanted to go fishing with his father. I loved that. Still do.

  10. One of the classiest, toughest SOBs in NFL history. The amount of character he has to play his entire career with the Browns through all their struggles without complaining or throwing anyone under the bus is astonishing, he parents raised him right.

    Him retiring is a loss not only for Cleveland but for the entire NFL, I look forward to seeing his number 73 retired and seeing him enter the Hall of Fame.

  11. “Now that I’m surrounded by talent, I’m just not comfortable anymore.”

    Just kidding. Great player. I thought he’d stick it out a few more years, but best of luck to him.

  12. kh221 says:
    March 14, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    The emotional toll of playing for the Browns finally broke him
    ——————————————————————-

    Uh yeah, or maybe it was being an NFL OL for 11 years.

  13. This drama queen finally decide?

    Good grief, you were on a 0-16 team last year, I’d retire too.

    Was he a good player? Yes for sure, but c’mon dude you aren’t THAT important.

  14. To have played at such a high level for so long and not have even a taste of playing in the tournament is almost a crime.

    oh well, work on your golf game and we’ll see ya in Canton in a few.

  15. I’m actually surprised by this. I really did think that Joe would come back, at least for one year, with all of the additions that the Browns have made. Maybe he wanted Cousins and is disappointed with Taylor.

    It also wouldn’t surprise me if he sat out a year to see how the franchise settles, and then comes back.

  16. I’m a bit surprised about all the haters. He must have dominated your favorite DE.

    Regardless, thanks to Joe for being a class act and one heck of a great football player. I’ll plan on being in Canton for his enshrinement.

  17. One of the all-time greats at LT, and a class individual. Too bad he never got to be in the playoffs.

  18. Good riddance! You’ve already got a head start on being an overly-opinionated talking head. Sure you’ll fit right in at NFL Network. Be sure to tip your sttlist!

    Way to keep the Browns twisting in the wind so they missed out on Nate Solder. Don’t let the door hit ya…

  19. Give BB a chance to talk to him…he’ll be a Patriot next year. Who wants to lose almost every game they play? That would take the fight away from most people.

    Why would he want to go to a team with 5 Super bowl Losses 😉

  20. You have to give him credit(HOF inductee) for playing so hard and so well for such a dysfunctional organization and not trying to act out to force his way off the team like that certain player that the Patriots picked up for the playoffs that wanted to coattail to another ring.

  21. Great player and a loyal one at that too. Rare commodity these days. As bad as the Browns record has been the past decade, they still have as many playoff wins as my Bengals.

  22. He’ll be in the HOF, perhaps, but not before and until Joe Jacoby is in the HOF.
    =====

    Joe Thomas – 9x All-Pro, 7x 1st Team

    Joe Jacoby – 3x All-Pro, 2x 1st Team

  23. I feel sad the guy never made it to the Super Bowl. A great player and by all reports an even better guy. The Browns need more Joe Thomas’s in their future.

    Good luck in your retirement Joe.

  24. loyalbrownsfan says:
    March 14, 2018 at 2:09 pm
    The best player to never of played in a playoff game. The NFL is losing one of their last guys to look up to. Great individual career. Thank you Joe for protecting 1,241 different qb’s since 2007!
    =================================================================================

    The Brown’s were in the playoffs in 2002, almost beat Pittsburgh. Pretty sure Thomas played in that game. But other than that……..pretty much nothing but losing. Good luck to Joe! He didn’t get a SB trophy, but he can leave mostly healthy and with a LOT of money!

  25. Great player who had the misfortune of playing for the worst run team in the NFL. Hall Of Fame, here he comes (in 5 years).

  26. a1b24948 says:
    March 14, 2018 at 2:25 pm
    He’ll be in the HOF, perhaps, but not before and until Joe Jacoby is in the HOF.

    —————————————————————————————-

    It’s a travesty that Jacoby is not in the Hall Of Fame. I agree with you. If Jacoby doesn’t get in, Thomas shouldn’t be in either.

  27. He’s an absolute lock for the HOF. Don’t fool yourself into thinking otherwise.

    Lineman recently elected

    Jonathan Ogden – 9x All-Pro, 4x 1st team
    Walter Jones – 6x All-Pro, 4x 1st team
    Larry Allen – 7x 1st team All-Pro

    All-time greats in general

    Lawrence Taylor – 10x All-Pro, 8x 1st team
    Ronnie Lott – 10x All-Pro, 8x 1st team
    Deion Sanders – 8x 1st team All-Pro

    Thomas is an absolute lock and won’t stand in line behind anyone.

  28. aarons444 says:
    March 14, 2018 at 2:06 pm
    Has a better player ever been stuck on such a pathetic franchise?

    I think Archie Manning with the Saints comes close.

  29. There are some people on here that are nothing but a bunch of trolls. I’m not a Browns fan but give the man his due. He’s had a hell of a career and is smart enough to know when it’s time to hang it up.

    The Browns have has their ups and downs, like any other franchise. Maybe a little more than most, but they will rebound. Good luck in your future endeavors, Joe Thomas!!

  30. I really feel bad for Joe. Having to play for such a sad and sorry franchise like the Browns must have really taken a toll on him phsicially and mentally. It really is a shame that he never got to experience playing for a a storied franchise like the Cincinnati Bengals where it’s 1st class all the way.

  31. Has a better player ever been stuck on such a pathetic franchise?
    ————————-
    Barry Sanders maybe
    =====

    Sanders played in the Playoffs 5 times, 3 years in a row (’93-’95) and an NFCC Game (1991)

  32. I look forward to seeing the Browns retire BOTH of his numbers: 73 and 10,363. That streak is Ripken-esque.

  33. Honestly… it’s great to be loyal to your veterans…

    … but… they should have cut him years ago.

    SEE: Sun Tzu – The Art of War

  34. Scoff at him as much as you like. There’s no denying he’s among the best left tackles to ever play the game. Too bad he never got to play in the playoffs.

  35. mrkbuilders says:
    March 14, 2018 at 2:08 pm
    Give BB a chance to talk to him…he’ll be a Patriot next year.
    —–

    That would be a pretty neat trick seeing as he’s not a free agent

  36. Wow, the classy ones are posting today.
    ==============================
    Yeah I guess him dogging Richard Sherman’s contract was considered classy

  37. davekva72 :

    The Brown’s were in the playoffs in 2002, almost beat Pittsburgh. Pretty sure Thomas played in that game. But other than that……..pretty much nothing but losing. Good luck to Joe! He didn’t get a SB trophy, but he can leave mostly healthy and with a LOT of money!
    ——

    He was drafted in 2007. Thanks for playing

  38. davekva72 says:
    March 14, 2018 at 2:40 pm
    The Brown’s were in the playoffs in 2002, almost beat Pittsburgh. Pretty sure Thomas played in that game. But other than that……..pretty much nothing but losing. Good luck to Joe! He didn’t get a SB trophy, but he can leave mostly healthy and with a LOT of money!

    How in the blue hell could he have played in that game if he was drafted in 2007? SMH

  39. This Browns fan would like to say thank you, Joe Thomas, for all 10,363 consecutive snaps! This man played through pain and injuries while never complaining once, your a class act Joe, I’ll see you 5 years from now in Canton, Ohio! Go Browns!

  40. Can you imagine if a guy like Dez Bryant ran his mouth the way Joe Thomas does? Joe Thomas, a complete non-factor his entire career playing for the most irrelevant franchise in all of professional, college, AAU, and high school sports.

  41. Ah, that explains why the Browns went out and got Carlos Hyde. Now they can focus on LT and QB.

  42. Of course, knowing this was likely to happen, the Browns “just missed” on Solder. Yeah, right. I don’t believe for a moment they were truly interested in Solder. If they were, they had the dough to outbid everyone and by a quite a bit. Now the Browns have a major hole at LT. Thanks, Jimmy!

  43. All the knuckleheads tossing shade on Joe Thomas need to look in the mirror and ask themselves if they could do thier job as well for so long for a terrible employer.

    I Know I would have given up a lot sooner.

  44. Some people go out on top, Joe decides to go out on rock bottom (0-16). That’s too bad. With some of their moves, the Browns might even win one or two games this season.

  45. Joe Thomas, the only way he could block James Harrison was to clothesline him with his left arm fully extended as though he was conducting a limbo contest. Always got away with it.

  46. onebuffalove716 says:
    March 14, 2018 at 3:00 pm
    Brown’s were in the playoffs in 2002, almost beat Pittsburgh. Pretty sure Thomas played in that game. But other than

    ————————————————————————————-

    Well that game was 16 years ago, and Thomas played for 11 years. So do the math…

  47. geofferypeterson says:
    March 14, 2018 at 3:16 pm
    mrkbuilders says:
    March 14, 2018 at 2:08 pm
    Give BB a chance to talk to him…he’ll be a Patriot next year.
    —–

    That would be a pretty neat trick seeing as he’s not a free agent

    ————

    Neither were Rodney Harrison or Junior Seau

  48. Joe Thomas isn’t in the conversation for the GOAT LT,he is the GOAT LT. As well as the bar that has been placed so far out of reach that we’ll be lucky to see it matched again anytime soon.

  49. I remember him getting drafted and how he decided to stay home and go fishing with his father rather than go to NY. Cleveland, you must be proud.

  50. Great player and class act. It’s a shame he never got a chance to even play in the postseason.

  51. yourmomapproves says:
    March 14, 2018 at 4:01 pm
    Joe Thomas isn’t in the conversation for the GOAT LT,he is the GOAT LT. As well as the bar that has been placed so far out of reach that we’ll be lucky to see it matched again anytime soon

    Jonathan Ogden may have something to say about that GOAT LT title…

  52. Wishing him all the best. Always kept it classy and did his job without complaining even on some horrible teams. Good luck in whatever he decides to do next.

  53. The guy was good player but as far as a class act not even close. He’s a big mouth and a jerk on the same level with Michael and Martellus Bennett. It’s just that his team was irreverent every year so he didn’t get as much press. Good Riddance.

  54. That’s too bad, really a classy guy and a great player. Was main one I was excited for after all the roster moves. Was excited for him to have a chance to win some actual games and possibly have some enjoyment in his last season. However, that won’t happen now but I still give him tons of credit for his loyalty and passion and patience all through the organizations struggles. – Phins fan
    P.S. Enjoy watching
    Landry

  55. floridaslonechargersfan says:
    March 14, 2018 at 2:13 pm
    Guy showed up and gave it his all every week despite getting no reward. Who else could do that for that long?
    ———-

    Lets not over-dramatize things, He may not have won a lot of football games and may not have ever played in the playoffs, but no reward? In 11 seasons he made $122.8 million dollars. I think a lot of people would play football for the Browns for 11 years if it meant making $123 million dollars.

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