Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas announced his retirement from the NFL after 11 seasons, the team announced.
“This was an extremely difficult decision, but the right one for me and my family,” Thomas said in a statement. “Playing in the NFL has taken a toll on my body and I can no longer physically compete at the level I need to.”
“From the moment I was drafted, the city embraced me in a way that I could never fully describe," he added. "I am proud to call Cleveland home. The loyalty and passion of the fans is unmatched and it was an honor to play in front of them from the past 11 years. I would like to thank all of the coaches, teammates, staff, fans and everyone who has shown me support throughout my career. Even though I will be hanging up my cleats, I will always be a Cleveland Brown.”
Thomas, 33, played every snap for the Browns since he was the third overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft until he suffered a triceps injury in October 2017. The streak was ended at 10,363 snaps when he was forced to leave in the third quarter of a loss to the Tennessee Titans. The injury forced him to miss the remainder of the season.
The Browns announced plans to enshrine Thomas' streak of 10,363 snaps in the team's Ring of Honor in 2018.
The Browns were reportedly interested in left tackle Nate Solder before he agreed to terms on a deal with the New York Giants.
“Joe has been a pillar of our organization and one of the greatest to put on a Cleveland Browns uniform,” Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a statement. “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.”
Thomas announced his decision before the new league year opened at 4 p.m. ET. Thomas had a year remaining on his contract worth $13.5 million, which includes a $3 million roster bonus on Sunday.
Thomas is a 10-time Pro Bowler. He won the Walter Payton Man of the Year honor in 2010, 2012 and 2016.
Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Thomas has had tryouts with ESPN and FOX for potential on-air gigs.