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It’s over: Browns LT Joe Thomas announces his retirement from the NFL

Cleveland’s future Hall of Famer announces his retirement.

Green Bay Packers v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

We worried this day was coming, and the dark hour is here right on the heels of the new league year starting: Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas has decided to retire at the age of 33.

Quotes from Joe Thomas

“This was an extremely difficult decision, but the right one for me and my family.Playing in the NFL has taken a toll on my body and I can no longer physically compete at the level I need to.

From the moment I was drafted, the city embraced me in a way that I could never fully describe. I am proud to call Cleveland home. The loyalty and passion of the fans is unmatched and it was an honor to play in front of them from the past 11 years. I would like to thank all of the coaches, teammates, staff, fans and everyone who has shown me support throughout my career. Even though I will be hanging up my cleats, I will always be a Cleveland Brown.”

Joe Thomas Goes Deeper Into Decision on Special ThomaHawk Episode

Here are some quotes from the interview, courtesy of UNINTERRUPTED.

“As a competitor, you always think that you can still do it, but there a point in your career that you get to that crossroads and you say I just can’t do it anymore, I just don’t have it in my body. My mind is good, but my body is not willing, and I think that’s where I am.” (1:06)

“As your body fills up with inflammation, your muscles shut down, it’s a protection mechanism that your body has. Specifically, in my knee, which is the main reason I feel like I had to retire.” (2:47)

“For me, looking down the barrel of a knee replacement, I think that definitely becomes a decision where you’re like, hey this football has been amazing, it’s been more than I could ever have expected, but you have to take other things into consideration if you’re deciding if you’re going to be able to play football anymore.” (3:43)

“The last two to three years of my career it’s been almost impossible for me to practice.” (5:05)

“I would be the first guy in the building and the last guy to leave because it took me all day, literally, to get my body somewhat ready to be able to play on Sundays and that’s only tenable for so long.” (6:34)

“As much as I want to play and be a part of this new regime in Cleveland and the exciting things that are happening with the Browns, my body just has said no and I just don’t have it anymore.” (9:52)

My Personal Reflection on Joe Thomas

Thomas played 10,363 consecutive snaps to begin his NFL career, which started way back in 2007 when he was the Browns’ No. 3 overall pick of the draft. He was a Pro Bowler from 2007-2016, and a consistent First Team All-Pro. Last season against the Tennessee Titans, though, he season came to an end when he tore his triceps and had surgery. I was there at the game, and I’ll forever be sad but grateful that I got to witness his final game.

The distinct memory I have was fans chanting ‘Let’s go Joe’ as he was being helped off the field. I thought Cleveland would take a timeout to try to get him back on the field (hoping it was just a small injury), but nope — the first snap happened without them, and it was just a feeling of emptiness. 10,363 straight snaps and then...poof, gone in an instant.

Adding to the craziness is the fact that Thomas was having another elite season. He’s not retiring because he’s over-the-hill. But he has put in the years and has made incredible strides off-the-field as a media member/commentator since last season ended, so it’s understandable why he’d take the leap now instead of being tempted to return for one more year.

We’ll get in to Thomas’ possible replacements in the coming days, but for now, it’s a big, ‘Thank You, Joe’ one more time — to the first future Browns Hall of Famer that I’ve been able to witness in my lifetime.

Thomas will be inducted into the Browns’ Ring of Honor at a home game in 2018.

Quotes from Jimmy/Dee Haslam

“Joe has been a pillar of our organization and one of the greatest to put on a Cleveland Browns uniform. We want to thank him for everything he has done for the Browns and the Northeast Ohio community. We should all strive for the standard Joe has set to always be available, put the team above yourself and always give maximum effort. One of the first ways we will acknowledge and honor his accomplishments is to enshrine the number 10,363 to recognize his consecutive snaps streak in the team’s Ring of Honor at a home game this season. It also won’t be long before he takes his rightful place down the road in Canton at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”

Quotes from Head Coach Hue Jackson

“Joe means so much to me both personally and professionally. Joe has been not just a tremendous Cleveland Brown, but one of the best to ever play in the National Football League. I appreciate everything he has done for this organization and not just on the field, his leadership and what he brought to the locker room, as a coach you couldn’t ask for a better captain than Joe Thomas. He earned the respect of teammates and peers around the league for the way he worked. To play 10,363 consecutive snaps, what a tremendous accomplishment. I don’t know if something like that will ever be matched again.”

Quotes from General Manager John Dorsey

“I have watched Joe from afar throughout his career. I have nothing but respect for the way he has carried himself and the amazing things he has accomplished. He has played this game at an extremely high level. Joe is a heck of a football player and an even better man.”

Posted by Dawgs By Nature: For Cleveland Browns Fans on Wednesday, March 14, 2018