After 11 seasons with the Cleveland Browns, 33-year-old Joe Thomas‘ time with the team has come to an end. The offensive tackle made the announcement via the team’s Twitter profile in a video message for fans.
“It’s been an amazing ride for the last 11 years.”
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) March 14, 2018
Joe Thomas Announces Retirement From NFL After 11 Seasons
The Browns have been extraordinarily busy this offseason with a large number of free agent signings. The Browns signed two other offensive tackle free agents this week, moves which seemed to hint at Thomas’ retirement.
Thomas made history with an NFL record 10,363 consecutive snaps before tearing his triceps last year. That injury landed Thomas on injured reserve for the rest of the season. Following the injury, former Browns general manager Sashi Brown added another $3 million to make up for lost pay.
Thomas has consistently been ranked as one of the best players in the league despite playing for a team that hasn’t seen a winning season since 2007. He was selected to the Pro Bowl ten times during his career. In addition, his peers regularly voted him as one of the top 25 players in the league.
Thomas’ torn triceps may well be the root of his decision to retire. However, recent weight loss led analysts to assume retirement was imminent. Additionally, last April Thomas shared that he was already starting to experience memory loss.
“I definitely expect memory loss,” he told Graham Bessinger, “I’m already seeing memory loss, and maybe that’s just because of my old age or maybe it’s football, it’s hard to tell.”
In the official press release, Thomas spoke to the impact football has had on his body. “This was an extremely difficult decision, but the right one for me and my family. 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 will be inducted into the Browns Ring of Honor during a 2018 home game. It’s expected that he’ll be named to the NFL Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility as well.