Thursday night during the NFL Honors show, Joe Thomas was officially announced as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023. He will become the 18th member of the Browns who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Thomas was one of 15 finalists. He will be joined by Darrelle Revis, DeMarcus Ware, Ken Riley, Joe Klecko, Chuck Howley, Ronde Barber, Don Coryell, and Zach Thomas.
Cleveland Browns fans should circle August 5, 2023 on their calendar, because that’s the date when Thomas will officially be inducted into Canton. With it only being an hour or so drive from the city, fans will no doubt be eager to show their support for a guy who had an unprecedented streak when he played 10,363 consecutive snaps. That is believed to be the longest streak in NFL history.
I was in attendance for Thomas’ final snap. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the way he wanted to go out, since it was due to an injury suffered against the Tennessee Titans during the 2017 season. I remember seeing Thomas down and starting to be helped off the field, and in the moment, I was yelling for then-head coach Hue Jackson to call a timeout. Of course, that was before I knew Thomas had tore his left triceps — I was just thinking he had a cramp or something!
Thomas was the Browns’ first-round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, selected No. 3 overall. He made the Pro Bowl for the first 10 years of his career, and only missed it in 2017 because of his injury. He was a first-team All-Pro six times and a second-team All-Pro twice. And don’t forget the most important distinction on Thomas’ resume:
The first offensive lineman in NFL history pic.twitter.com/RezErMEKaM— McNeil (@Reflog_18) February 9, 2023
If you want to have some fun digging through history, here is my post from when I selected Thomas for the Browns in the SB Nation Mock Draft in 2007, and then our article from when Thomas was the third overall pick.
Blessed and honored beyond belief! pic.twitter.com/9sAafkYGot— Joe Thomas (@joethomas73) February 10, 2023
Here is a statement from Dee and Jimmy Haslam on Thomas’ honor:
“We are so proud Joe Thomas will be recognized, appropriately, as a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Joe epitomized the standard of excellence in everything he did for the Cleveland Browns organization and for our community. He was the essence of all you want in a player, as a teammate and representing the Browns organization. His extraordinary accomplishments and endurance playing 10-plus years without missing a single snap is unparalleled. How he went about his work each day was equally inspiring, the model of consistency, resiliency and class. Beyond being one of the best in NFL history, he was just as exceptional off the field. Joe and his wife, Annie have made an impact on so many people in Cleveland and have done so in a humble, unassuming way. He is just a tremendous human being. We are so happy that Joe will take his rightful place among our game’s greatest in Canton.”