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Joe Thomas still unsure about NFL future

David Kenyon
Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas

The Cleveland Browns need to recover from an 0-16 season, and that will be even tougher if their best player chooses to retire. Joe Thomas is undecided about whether he’ll return in 2018.

According to Tom Withers of the Associated Press, the iron-man left tackle said he’s “making progress” in his recovery from a torn left triceps. But Thomas acknowledged there are days he wavers on the decision because of lingering knee and back issues.

“Had a lot of time to think and spend some time with the family, but not ready definitively to make a decision one way or the other just yet. Really for me, my decision is just going to come down to do I feel like I’m healthy enough to survive another season?”

Thomas played more than 10,000 consecutive snaps to begin his career, which started in 2007. That streak, which is believed to be the longest in NFL history, ended in 2017.

Cleveland has tried to entice Thomas by making him the highest-paid offensive lineman in the league, but the 33-year-old may prioritize his health over a big salary. If that happens, the Browns will need to replace Thomas via free agency or the draft.

Regardless of his decision, though, the Hall of Fame will likely come calling for Thomas once he’s eligible. The Browns — and many football fans — simply hope they haven’t seen the last of Thomas yet.