Joe Thomas Plans To Consider His Future In NFL During Rehab

The tricep tear that Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas suffered in the third quarter of Sunday’s game on an otherwise non-descript run-blocking play ended the longest consecutive snaps streak in NFL history, landing him on injured reserve. The question that remains is whether or not it will end his career.

Not because he would not physically be unable to return from the injury—though such injuries especially after hitting your 30s seem to have a tendency of resulting in recurrences, or in tears to similar muscles—but because of the stress of the process it would take to recover and return to form.

For the Browns.

Thomas actually spoke to the media earlier this week and said, according to an article on the team’s website, that he was going to consider his future in the NFL during the offseason regardless of whether or not he was injured.

I have a chance to maybe start my rehab and see how things are progressing and have that conversation with the family”, he told reporters. “Certainly I have got one more year on my contract and we will see how things shake out in the offseason”.

The third-overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, Thomas was a plug-and-play franchise left tackle from day one, and played over 10,000 consecutive snaps from the very first play of his career up to his injury on Sunday—on what may prove to be his final snap.

The 32-year-old lineman, turning 33 in about a month and a week, said that offseason recovery has become an increasingly more important aspect of his football career. “You are pushing guys and you are blocking guys and you are punching guys for so many years, kind of with the same arm and the same motion that overtime”, he said.

“Your tendons, just like a lot of things in your body break down. Then it just takes that one play where they have been weakened and then all of the sudden that one play is sort of the straw that broke the camel’s back”.

Thomas expressed optimism about the future trajectory of this Browns team, and he lamented that he might not be around to see it finally pay off, understanding that he is nearly at least the twilight of his career, if not the end.

He certainly did not plan for it to end this way. And the truth is that many players, who intend to retire, end up coming back when they get injured, unwilling to go out on those terms.

But what will Thomas be coming back to, in truth? The Browns have won just one game in their previous 22 over the course of the past two seasons. They’ve won four of their last 38. They keep benching their quarterback.

So many of his teammates, great players like Alex Mack, have sought greener pastures while Thomas remained. His is truly one of the greatest wastes of talent, relative to the success that it translated into for his team, in the history of sports, as far as I’m concerned.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Conserv_58

    I can’t say enough how much I admire Joe’s commitment and loyalty to play for what is and has been the worst team in the league, for decades. As for his future I can’t see why, at his age, he would want to come back and play, especially knowing that there is a high probability that he could incur another season ending injury. His body is telling him that it’s time to hand up the cleats. He has nothing else to prove. He’s going to be a first ballot H.O.F. inductee. I say, get out while he’s still young. There is another life awaiting him outside of the game.

  • will

    More evidence that the QB is the key to success …..not the left tackle. Feel for him and wish him the best.

  • Steve

    Just last week, we were talking about how the Clowns let Joe Haden go. Made a remark, “Next the Clowns will let Joe Thomas go”. Then Thomas gets hurt and he may be done. Must have had ESP on this one, but never seen it coming.

  • heath miller

    joe is one of a kind… loyal to stay with a terrible team that has no chance of winning… never complains.. he played with class and im sure he will go out with class…. i cant wait to say which steelers fan will say “maybe we can pick him up for a yea or two”…. if he plays longer he will just stay with the browns .. lol

  • NW86

    This was his first injury in his entire career, he had never missed a single snap. And he is 32 years old. One tricep tear equals “his body telling him that it’s time to hang up the cleats”???

    Whitworth, and Peters just got lucrative new contracts at 35. And up until Peters got hurt last week, both were still playing quality LT. Thomas could certainly rehab and come back and play if he wanted to. The question is simply how bad he still wants to. This could be the year that he finally says to the Browns “Please trade me to a good team. Otherwise I will retire.”

  • nutty32

    Retire, accept a trade to a contender or demand to be cut. Joe don’t owe anything to this tanking F.O. and the fans will surely understand. See how quickly they kicked Joe Haden out the door? It’s a business.

  • Zarbor

    I respect guys like Joe who are committed and loyal to their team. However, there comes a point where it becomes about your desire or lack thereof to want to win. This is why I think its ridiculous to continue to play at a high level when the organization you work for isn’t doing the same. Its a waste of talent.
    Glad we got Joe Haden who is turning out to be valuable for us. If Thomas is thinking of coming back, he better go to a contender.

  • Conserv_58

    Did you read Matthew’s right up? Joe is going to be thirty-three next month. Did you also read what Joe had to say about his injury and what the wear and tear on his body is doing? He said that he has optimism about the browns’ future, but he doesn’t see himself being around when they finally turn it around.

  • Woodsworld

    I’ve always respected Joe Thomas, even when he was destroying everyone (including Steeler players) that he went against. Such a great character on a team that had nothing to offer him, his loyalty is to be celebrated, even in his team is not. I really hate seeing this happen to him, though Father Time is undefeated. I’ll never forget that he said the CB we got from them a few years ago, didn’t love football….he didn’t waste time talking about anything else, and he was so right. Good luck in wherever life leads, and I think you’d be a great commentator for the NFL.