BEREA, Ohio– Joe Thomas discussed his decision to retire from the NFL on Wednesday during the latest episode of “The ThomaHawk Show,” a podcast he hosts with former teammate Andrew Hawkins.
The Cleveland Browns left tackle announced his retirement Wednesday afternoon on the team’s website. Soon after, Thomas and Hawkins recorded a new podcast.
“It’s a bittersweet day for me. I’ve had 11 amazing seasons here in Cleveland,” Thomas said. “And to know when it’s time to call it quits and to put a cherry on the career is always tough because as competitor, you always think you can still do it. But there’s a point in your career, like you’ve mentioned on the show before, that you get to that crossroads and you just say, ‘I just can’t do it anymore.'”
Thomas told his co-host he’s suffered numerous injuries throughout his career and they take their toll, even though only one has kept him from playing. The 10-time Pro Bowler played 10,363 consecutive snaps until tearing his triceps in October and having season-ending surgery.
He said he’s had four knee surgeries and suffers from arthritis in nearly every joint in his body. It was knee, not his triceps, that prompted his retirement.
Thomas said tightness in his knee and back would keep him off the practice field, even preventing him from bending down to tie his shoes for weeks at a time. He was the first guy at the training facility and the last one to leave, because he was working to get his body ready for Sundays.
“As much as I want to play and be part of this new regime in Cleveland… My body has said no and I just don’t have it anymore,” Thomas said.
Hawkins commented on Thomas’ ability to play at the highest level consistently, despite the constant pain. He said he’s been “A1 from day 1” and calling him a “Ferrari you drive on Sundays.”
The Browns posted a video from Thomas, who thanked his teammates and coaches. But he had a message for fans of the orange and brown.
“I just want to say thank you to all the Browns fans out there. It’s been an amazing ride for the last 11 years. From the moment I was drafted, you guys had my back, you guys showed me what it’s like to be a Clevelander, you guys showed me what it means to be a Cleveland Brown, and for that, I’m forever grateful,” Thomas said
“It’s been an amazing ride for the last 11 years.”
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) March 14, 2018