Joe Thomas named semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2023

Legendary Browns left tackle Joe Thomas is a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2023

Joe Thomas is one step closer to making the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. The legendary Browns left tackle made the list of 28 semifinalists for the class of 2023.

Thomas advanced from the initial candidate pool of 129. He is the only player with any Browns ties who made the semifinalist list. The semifinalist list gets trimmed to 15 finalists later this winter, and it would be very surprising if Thomas doesn’t make it through to the finalist list.

Among the ex-Browns who did not make the cut:

RB Jamaal Lewis

RB Eric Metcalf

QB Jeff Garcia

OLB Willie McGinest

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Joe Thomas one of 2 selected to join Browns Legends in 2022

Joe Thomas and Pete Brewster will be honored in the Browns Legends program in 2022

Joe Thomas was a legendary figure during his decade playing left tackle for the Cleveland Browns. Now the Browns will make that legendary status official.

The team announced on Thursday that Thomas is one of the two inductees into the Browns Legends program. It’s a program that recognizes players who had a significant impact on the franchise.

Thomas and Pete Brewster will represent the Legends class of 2022. Brewster was a tight end and defensive end who played in Cleveland from 1952 through 1958. He won two championships and was a two-time Pro Bowl honoree. Brewster passed away in 2020.

Thomas patrolled left tackle from 2007 through his career-ending arm injury in 2017. He never missed a snap in his playing time, logging 10,363 straight NFL snaps. No. 73 was a six-time first-team All-Pro and made the Pro Bowl 10 straight seasons.

Thomas released a statement via the Browns,

“It feels amazing. The pride that I have as a former Cleveland Brown and Browns alumni is unlimited, and now being able to be in the most exclusive club among Browns alumni is incredibly special to me.”

Thomas and Brewster will be honored at halftime of the Browns’ Week 2 home opener against the New York Jets.

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Browns LT Joe Thomas eligible for next Hall of Fame class

With the 2022 Hall of Fame class inducted, Thomas joins the first-time eligible players for the 2023 class:

The Cleveland Browns have not had a lot of historically great players since their return to the NFL in 1999. The decades of mostly losing has been led by poor draft picks and free agent signings.

One man stands above the rest for the Browns since their return: LT Joe Thomas.

The third overall selection in the 2007 NFL draft, Thomas made a career out of high-level consistency despite the lack of quality play around him. The model of availability, Cleveland’s left tackle played in all 167 games before a torn tricep ended his 2017 season and career.

Not only did Thomas play in every game but he also holds the unofficial record for consecutive snaps played at 10,363.

Thomas is now eligible to join the immortals in the Hall of Fame:

There are 17 Browns in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While a vast majority are historical names like Jim Brown, Paul Brown, Otto Graham and Paul Warfield, TE Ozzie Newsome is the Hall of Famer who has played the most recent.

Thomas will change that when he is inducted. While many expect he will get in next year, Hall of Famer voters can be hard to predict for a variety of reasons. In the end, Joe Thomas and Hall of Fame will go together, whenever it happens.

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Joe Thomas highlights most important aspect in zone blocking for OL

The legendary Browns offensive lineman shares the most important thing he learned from Kyle Shanahan. It bodes well for Nick Harris’ ascension to starter:

The zone blocking scheme has been around for a while. Mike Shanahan’s use of the scheme with the Denver Broncos made it famous for many fans. Shanahan’s teams could churn out 1,000-yard rushers from, seemingly, random places.

The Cleveland Browns implemented the system when Kevin Stefanski was hired as the head coach. The team has had a ton of success running the ball in the zone run scheme, helped by the talents of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.

The scheme is becoming more and more prevalent in the NFL today with versions of it run across the league

Previously, Cleveland ran the system when Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator. This weekend, legendary Brown Joe Thomas was tagged in a tweet showing his technique as a zone blocker. Thomas replied by sharing what he learned from the younger Shanahan:

Valuing speed on the offensive line has been evident during Stefanski’s tenure. With Nick Harris set to step in for J.C. Tretter, speed will have to be utilized as Cleveland’s new center is significantly undersized.

Joel Bitonio, Jack Conklin and Wyatt Teller have shown versatility in a variety of schemes while being successful in all of them. Jedrick Wills enters his third season coming off a year where injuries limited him. All of them have the speed Thomas is talking about.

A healthy Wills and using Harris’ strengths will help the Browns once again have one of the best offensive lines in the game.

Joe Thomas: Baker Mayfield overplayed his hand with his letter, trade request

Joe Thomas thinks Mayfield got “sensitive” then overplayed his hand:

The Cleveland Browns are moving forward with Deshaun Watson as their starting quarterback of the future. Jacoby Brissett was officially signed on Friday to provide depth and a potential starter should Watson get suspended.

The word potential is important in the last sentence because, currently, Baker Mayfield is still on the team’s roster. If by some strange occurrence that is still true by Week 1, it could be Mayfield starting during a Watson suspension.

This offseason has been a difficult one for the former top overall pick. Mayfield underwent surgery on the shoulder injury that plagued much of the 2021 season. Cleveland’s front office reiterated hopes that he would bounce back, told his agents they’d only seek a clear upgrade at the position and then found out the team was pursuing Watson.

After Watson reportedly informed the team that they were out of the race for his services, Mayfield requested a trade. Specifically, Mayfield wanted to go to Indianapolis. That is where Browns legend Joe Thomas thinks Mayfield made a mistake:

Thomas’ logic is solid. Cleveland was going to move forward with Mayfield at that time, with Watson seemingly headed to New Orleans and Atlanta. Near the end of his comments, Thomas hit the nail on the head:

“Thinking that he was perceived as a franchise quarterback in the NFL and that he could kind of dictate the terms of where he was gonna be traded.”

Unfortunately for both Mayfield and the Browns, not only does that end up inaccurate but his letter to the fans of Cleveland and his trade request seems to have sunk his overall value as well.

Joe Thomas thinks Mayfield got “sensitive” then overplayed his hand. If the quarterback had stayed quiet and focused on what he could control, perhaps he wouldn’t be facing the NFL’s version of musical chairs right now.

 

Joe Thomas will be a Browns color analyst on preseason games

Legendary left tackle Joe Thomas will pair with Tom McCarthy to call the Browns preseason games

You can take the Browns uniform off legendary left tackle Joe Thomas, but you can’t take away his love for the only NFL team the future Hall of Famer ever played for. Thomas remains close to the organization three years after his injury0induced retirement, and he’s now going to be offering his unique insight during preseason game broadcasts.

Thomas will be an in-game color analyst for the Browns preseason broadcasts, the team announced. He’ll pair with play-by-play man Tom McCarthy in calling the games, with Nathan Zegura returning to his role as a sideline reporter.

“It gives me chills just thinking about being back in Cleveland and being able to call the Browns’ preseason games,” said Thomas via cleveland.com. “This team, this city and these fans have all had a huge impact on my life, and being paired with a veteran broadcaster like Tom McCarthy just adds to the excitement. The Browns accomplished some great things last year, and I’m looking forward to being there as they build on that success for 2021.”

Thomas has experience in the booth with the NFL Network, where he has worked on Thursday Night Football broadcasts as well as studio shows. It will be great to hear No. 73 offering his analysis on the Browns.

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Joe Thomas gets divine praise on the Dan Patrick Show

Thomas was called, “an omnipresent force bringing Browns fans together through a tumultuous decade.”

Joe Thomas has been retired from the Cleveland Browns for three seasons now, but he’s still among the most popular Browns players. Many Browns fans still proudly rock the No. 73 jersey in his honor even with a new wave of exciting young talents now in Cleveland.

Thomas got some deserved respect on a national radio show this week. When the Dan Patrick Show brought up how unusual it is for fans to buy offensive linemen jerseys, a caller named Evan dialed into the show and dropped the following,

“Any fall Sunday in Ohio, no matter where you are — could be a tailgate, could be the grocery store, could be your church service — you’ll find multiple Joe Thomas jerseys. If Baker (Mayfield) is Cleveland’s Jesus, then Joe Thomas is Cleveland’s God. An omnipresent force bringing Browns fans together through a tumultuous decade.”

That found its way to the man himself, and Thomas celebrated the kind words on his Twitter feed.

He might be aging and fattening back up, but Cleveland will always love Joe Thomas. Wear those No. 73 jerseys with pride!

Joe Thomas likes the idea of J.J. Watt in a Browns uniform

Watt and Thomas are both Wisconsin grads

There are a lot of folks who want former Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt in a Cleveland Browns uniform. One of them is the best Browns player of the 21st century and someone who once faced off against Watt in his prime: Joe Thomas.

The legendary Browns left tackle likes the idea of Cleveland signing Watt, who was released on Friday at his request. Both Thomas and Watt are Wisconsin graduates.

A cleverly photoshopped picture of Watt in a Browns uniform grabbed Thomas’ attention. He liked it enough to make it into a statement.

“That’s a good look…just saying,” Thomas tweeted, followed by emojis of fire, trophies and beer.

 

Watt would certainly look good in a Browns uniform.

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Joe Thomas on Jedrick Wills: ‘He looks like a veteran starter out there’

Sunday’s matchup with Chase Young should be a great test

There has been no better left tackle this century than Joe Thomas. The Browns fixture has stayed close to Cleveland after his retirement while still offering insight in his various media roles.

So when Thomas offers praise for Browns rookie left tackle Jedrick Wills, it carries significant weight. And Thomas definitely likes what he’s seen in the first two weeks of the Wills era from the rookie from Alabama.

“For the most part, fans probably are going, ‘Jed who?’ ” Thomas said this week in an interview with the Akron Beacon Journal. “Because he really has done a great job of keeping his name out of everybody’s mouth, right? There’s not really been noticeable mistakes. He’s not getting beat consistently. He’s not having a bunch of penalties.”

Thomas is impressed with how natural Wills makes it look on the left side despite being a right tackle exclusively through high school and college.

“He looks like a veteran starter out there, and that’s a compliment to him, but also a compliment to the coaching staff to be able to bring him along as quickly as he has been. And I think the conversation, the questions and the skepticism about can he change from right tackle to left tackle, especially with a reduced or limited offseason, I think those have all been pretty much put to bed because he looks like a natural out there at left tackle.”

Thomas sees Sunday’s matchup against Washington as a great test for Wills. The Football Team pounded Eagles QB Carson Wentz for eight sacks in Week 1 and generated a lot of pressure on Cardinals QB Kyler Murray in Week 2. Led by No. 2 overall pick Chase Young, the Washington defensive front is loaded with talent.

“This will be a great measuring stick because we know that they’re probably better pass rushers than [the ones the Browns have] seen thus far in this season,” Thomas said. “To kind of measure top rookie pass rusher, top rookie offensive tackle, for an O-line nerd like myself, this is going to be a fun game to watch.”

Wills and the Browns face off against Washington on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at FirstEnergy Stadium

Joe Thomas talks about his unhealthy playing diet, retirement weight loss

Joe Thomas talks about his unhealthy playing diet, retirement weight loss

Seeing Joe Thomas in person isn’t as easy as it used to be. Back when Thomas was a perennial All-Pro left tackle for the Cleveland Browns, he was quite conspicuous at 6-foot-6 and 325 pounds.

Now he’s down into the 250-pound range. Thomas has shaved off well over 60 pounds from his playing weight, as well as his hair. His rapid weight loss following his retirement in 2018 is one of several featured in an enlightening piece on ESPN about offensive linemen who reshape their bodies in retirement.

Thomas divulged his typical daily diet to keep his weight up. Here’s a dinner menu nobody should try at home,

For dinner, Thomas could devour an entire Detroit-style pizza himself, and then follow it with a sleeve of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies and a bowl of ice cream. And finally, he would slurp down another protein shake before getting into bed.

Thomas noted he dealt with constant heartburn and ingested copious amounts of anti-inflammatory drugs and pain medications to deal with the stress on his body frame.

The entire piece from Emily Kaplan at ESPN is a worthwhile read on the unhealthy measures Thomas and many other linemen have taken to artificially add weight to their frames. It’s a very enlightening look at an underreported phenomenon in football.