Joe Thomas knows he’s finished with football, and likely to end up in broadcasting.
But the former Browns left tackle wants to take some time to find the right fit for what should be a successful second career.
“I’ve had some offers from FOX [and] some other networks for doing it this fall, but I think right now I just want to take time away, step back, not overcommit myself this fall,” Thomas said, via Jason Wilde of ESPN Wisconsin. “It’ll be my first year away from football in a long time, so I’d rather just take little bites at the media/broadcasting apple and then see where I am at this point next year and see if it’s something I want to do.”
It’s good to have options, and Thomas has already had a number of auditions (including for the Monday Night Football gig that went to Jason Witten).
Other broadcasters have raved about him, as MNF play-by-play man Joe Tessitore told Richard Deitsch of The Athletic that Thomas had shades of John Madden in his audition.
Thomas did a mock call of last year’s Chiefs-Titans playoff game as part of his audition with Tessitore, both admitted he needs more practice before he’s ready for such a job full-time.
“The ‘Monday Night Football’ [opportunity] was pretty cool,” Thomas said. “Obviously it’s the iconic sports broadcast for a lot of us from the moment we were growing up as kids watching ‘Monday Night Football’ with the Packers and Brett Favre and all those great players. So it was really neat and humbling just to be considered for that job. I learned a lot about the process, I learned a lot about the position of color analyst.
“I think what Joe said was accurate. I’m obviously very green — no experience whatsoever as a color analyst — so for me, I wanted to just show up, show my personality as much as I could and then hopefully people could see that there was something in there that they could take that rough diamond and give me some practice and turn me into somebody who could be good.”
As a guy who speaks in paragraphs rather than phrases, Thomas said he needed to learn to get to his point quickly. But it’s clear that he has promise, and will have more opportunities in the future.