Individually there’s nothing more for Joe Thomas to accomplish in the NFL. Six seasons six Pro Bowls. Never missed a snap in an NFL game. On the field he has been honored for his textbook fundamentals at the left tackle position. Thomas is the highest-paid player on the Browns and the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL. Off the field he was named one of three finalists for the prestigious Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award last year. Out of respect to Thomas owner Jimmy Haslam attended the press conference at the Super Bowl to announce him as a finalist. But there is a huge void in the career of Thomas of course. “I think about the day of me running out of the tunnel in Cleveland Browns Stadium for a home playoff game. That’s my dream. That’s why I show up every day” he said. Thomas was the NFL’s No. 3 overall draft pick in 2007. His rookie season with Rob Chudzinski as a rookie offensive coordinator the Browns went 10-6. Since then they have gone 4-12 5-11 5-11 4-12 and 5-11. Add it all up and the Browns have a record of 33-63 with a future Pro Football Hall of Fame left tackle anchoring their offensive line. “The individual stuff is nice but it’s not important to me per se because the fun in this game is winning and I want to go to the playoffs” Thomas said. “I’ve never gone to the playoffs. Only one winning season so far. That’s my motivating factor to show up every day.” Welcome to the NFL: After a 10-6 rookie season in 2007 Thomas had high hopes for the Browns. The prolific offensive team prompted then-owner Randy Lerner to give contract extensions to GM Phil Savage coach Romeo Crennel Chudzinski and quarterback Derek Anderson. “Obviously at the end of that year I was thinking we’re going to be even better next year and have a better offense because we had everybody coming back until we had a bunch of injuries” he said. “I remember Braylon (Edwards) got injured in training camp. It seemed one thing after another with injuries. We started poorly and never could recover.
Browns tackle Joe Thomas pines for the day he runs onto the field for a home playoff game: 'We could be legends'
ESPN | Jul 30