There are a few things that I believe are sure things. The sun rising, the Earth rotating and Joe Thomas being a part of every offensive play for the Cleveland Browns. I was on hand at First Energy Stadium when the last item on that list ended and the most dependable player in recent memory went down with an injury.
It was a beautiful day for football in Cleveland. Although the Browns were not putting on a stellar performance, they were keeping pace with the Tennessee Titans in a field goal duel. In the aftermath of what looked like an ordinary play, netting Cleveland three yards on a carry by Duke Johnson, a Browns player was down. Murmuring in the stands questioning the identity of the injured player turned into moans of despair as it became clear that number 73 was not standing on the field.
What happened next was historic, but not in a good sense of the word. Joe Thomas, the player who was Cleveland’s rock, the player who never EVER missed a snap, got up and jogged off the field. After 10,363 consecutive snaps, Joe Thomas would spend the next snap on the sidelines. An MRI confirmed a triceps tear and surgery is the only repair option. Thomas will miss the rest of the 2017 season. To say this is a huge loss to the Browns is an understatement. The physical and emotional spark Thomas’ presence gave the team is immeasurable, but his numbers speak for themselves.
In September of 2017, Thomas became the first NFL player to achieve the milestone of 10,000 consecutive snaps and the number kept growing, eventually reaching 10,363. Let that sink in for a minute – 10,363 consecutive snaps. Thomas lined up 10,363 times over the course of his 11-year career. That’s the kind of work ethic EVERY coach would love to see from his players.
Undoubtedly, given that span of time and the nature of number 73’s position at offensive tackle, Thomas battled pain and injuries to be on the field. His tenacity and toughness gained Thomas Pro Bowl invitations every season of his career. Off the field, he represented the Cleveland Browns and the city of Cleveland in a respectable and scandal-free style.
All of the CST staff send our very best wishes for a speedy recovery to our “Ironman,” Joe Thomas.
Follow Senior Writer, Shelley Harcar, on Twitter @Shelley0514
Image Credit profootballweekly.com