BEREA, Ohio– Teammates of Joe Thomas shared their thoughts on the offensive tackle and his Hall of Fame-caliber career.
The 33-year-old announced his retirement last week after 11 seasons with the Browns. Thomas played seven games last season before tearing his left triceps and having season-ending surgery. Until then, he never missed a snap in his NFL career.
On Monday, the team posted a video with messages from past Browns including Josh Cribbs, Andrew Hawkins Josh McCown and Phil Dawson. Head coach Hue Jackson and offensive lineman Joel Bitonio also spoke about their time with Thomas.
“I know I have definitely always looked up to you. You’re an incredible player and even better person. Seeing even at a young age, you were always the super professional guy, always doing the right work, really helped me become a great player,” said Alex Mack, Browns center from 2009 to 2015.
“It’s easy to be a leader with words, but Joe’s the type of guy that went out on the field and led with his actions,” said Cribbs, who recently returned to the Browns as a special teams intern.
“Playing with Joe Thomas was great because every time you came onto the field, you knew two things were going to happen. You knew you were going to have fun. Joe was always smiling. And he’s going to be at the top of his game,” said McCown, former Cleveland quarterback. “My favorite memories of Joe are watching him work with young guys, taking a younger lineman aside and working on the details of playing the position.”
“Joe, playing with you was an absolute honor. ” Dawson said. Dawson played for the Browns from 1999 to 2012 and went to a Pro Bowl with Thomas. “You’re one of those guys I take pride in telling my children I got to play with you.”