BEREA, Ohio– Offensive lineman Joe Thomas was named the Cleveland Browns 2016 Walter Payton Man of the Year, the team announced on Wednesday.
The award, named for Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton, goes to one player on each of the league’s 32 teams who displays community service and excellence on the field.
Thomas received the honor in 2010 and was one of three NFL finalists in 2012. He is the only member of the Browns to recieve the award multiple times.
“Joe Thomas embodies everything you could ask for as a football player, as a leader and as a man of character to represent our team, our city and the NFL for his selfless commitment to the causes and most importantly the people who he impacts on the field and off of it,” said head coach Hue Jackson, in a news release on Wednesday. “We are proud to have a person like Joe represent the Cleveland Browns every day and to recognize his contributions with this honor.”
Thomas was the number three overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. He’s started in all 156 games and played every possible offensive snap. That’s the longest active stretch in the NFL.
He’s the only offensive lineman in league history to be selected to the Pro Bowl in his first nine seasons. The other seven players to accomplish the feat are all enshrinees of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Thomas continues to support Cleveland Kids in Need Resource Center, Providence House and the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
He was also the Browns’ 2016 Salute to Service Award recipent.