Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas has announced his retirement from the NFL.
"This was an extremely difficult decision, but the right one for me and my family," Thomas said. "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 expressed his pride in Cleveland and how grateful he is for the loyalty and passion of Browns fans. He also thanked his coaches, teammates and staff who have supported him for the last 11 years.
Thomas was the fifth player and only lineman in the NFL to be selected to play in the Pro Bowl each of his first ten seasons. He was also the longest tenured member of the Browns.
Thomas played every offensive snap for the Browns from the time he was drafted in 2007 as the third overall pick through Week 7 in the 2017 season when he tore a tricep, ending his consecutive snap streak of 10,363. His Iron Man stretch of 167 consecutive games is the longest consecutive snap streak in NFL history.
The following is a statement from Browns owners Dee and Jimmy 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.”
The following is a statement from Browns 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.”