After suffering a triceps injury that forced him to miss his first ever NFL game after 10-plus seasons, Cleveland Browns All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas has not yet fully committed to playing next season.
In speaking with SiriusXM NFL Radio (h/t Pro Football Talk) on Tuesday, Thomas indicated that a decision is still pending on whether he’ll suit up for a 12th NFL season.
“I’d like to make a decision before free agency to give the Browns the best opportunity to prepare for everything that happens in the offseason,” Thomas said. “Whether I’m going to come back or retire, I think, from their perspective, having a certain need going into free agency is important.”
Thomas has been busy recruiting both Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins to the Browns, so it stands to reason that he’s leaning on returning next season. On the other hand, this isn’t the firm commitment the Browns had been hoping for. They need to know where the best player in modern franchise history stands before they make a decision on who will be quarterbacking the team next season. After all, left tackle remains the most-important position along the offensive line.
The good news here is that Thomas did set a deadline. Said deadline is the start of free agency itself.
A six-time All-Pro, Thomas missed nine games to injury last season. It represented his first time away from the gridiron since he was drafted out of Wisconsin back in 2007.