The 18th Annual Greater Cleveland Sports Awards took place Thursday night in at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel Grand Ballroom. Tom Rinaldi was the emcee for the event, and the “Professional Athlete of the Year” award went to Cleveland Indians pitcher Corey Kluber, who beat out Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas, Cleveland Indians infielder Jose Ramirez, and Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James. Zydrunas Ilgauskas, former Cavaliers center, was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Thomas didn’t come away completely empty-handed, though. He received an award for 10,363 consecutive snaps to begin his career.
And you can’t help but smile at Thomas’ optimistic remarks when it comes to the Cleveland Browns having a chance at the Super Bowl next season, despite coming off of 0-16:
Thomas said that he’s not concerned about his triceps injury; that will take care of himself. When he thinks about his NFL future, it’s more about the knee and back issues he’s dealt with over the years. He said he’s not leaning one way or the other with regards to retirement, but that some days he goes back and forth on deciding what to do. Thomas did tell the Browns that he would try to not leave them hanging out to dry regarding the left tackle position, though.
“I told them I’ll make a decision when I’m ready and let them know and give them as much time as I possibly can. No matter what I decide to do this year, this is my last year on my contract in Cleveland. … I’m also 33 right now, so they need to be planning for somebody else pretty soon down the line, whether it’s this year or the following year.”
Bernie Kosar was also on hand to present high school athlete of the year awards with Thomas.
Kosar and new front office member Alonzo Highsmith were teammates in college, and Kosar thinks he’s done a phenomenal job during his career:
“Alonzo has done a phenomenal job throughout his career. This is going to be a telling year here because of all of the cap space and the top picks we have in the draft.”