Browns' Joe Thomas Announces Retirement

posted by Ken Robinson, WTAM - 

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Offensive tackle Joe Thomas, who played 10,363 consecutive snaps and made 10 Pro Bowls playing for the Cleveland Browns, announced his retirement on Wednesday. 

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

Thomas played every snap spanning 167 games before the streak ended with a torn triceps in his left arm while blocking Tennessee linebacker Brian Orakpo. 

Thomas' streak was believed to be the longest such streak in NFL history. 

The 33-year-old Thomas failed to play 16 games for the first time in his career in 2017 after the injury. 

By retiring, Thomas is leaving a $3 million roster bonus on the table that was due Sunday. The Browns awarded him the bonus in November to entice him to return for 2018, and it would have made Thomas the league's highest paid offensive linesman at approximately $13.5 million per year. 

The Browns also announced he will be inducted into the club's ring of honor during a game next season.

"Joe has been a pillar of our organization and one of the greatest to put on a Cleveland Browns uniform," Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslem said in a statement. "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 about yourself and always give maximum effort."

Thomas is one of five players in NFL history to make the Pro Bowl in each of their first ten seasons in the League, joining Mel Renfro, Merlin Olsen, Barry Sanders and Lawrence Taylor. 

Thomas was the third overall pick in 2007 out of Wisconsin. Instead of attending the draft in New York like most prospects, he went fishing with his father on Lake Michigan. 

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