Joe Thomas Browns Legacy – HOF

August 5, 2023

Tony Camino

Legendary Left Tackle represents a rare bright spot in the franchise post-1999

With the Hall of Fame Game now behind us, one aspect of this weekend that will endure eternally is Joe Thomas’ induction into football immortality, alongside legends in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Despite never having witnessed a postseason game, Thomas embraced both the franchise and the city, providing us with something to take pride in during the team’s darkest days.

Throughout the Browns vs Jets game broadcast, Thomas spoke multiple times about his profound affection for the city and the organization. According to a report by Adam Schefter, Peyton Manning attempted to recruit him to join the Broncos in 2015, aiming for a Super Bowl victory. When Thomas expressed his desire to remain in Cleveland, Manning advised him to leave. Despite being pursued by one of the greatest quarterbacks to have ever pursued a Super Bowl victory, even though he had never come close to the postseason, Thomas remained steadfastly loyal to Cleveland. He ensured that he retired donning the brown and orange, a testament to his unwavering commitment.

●      6 First-Team All-Pro Selections

●      167 consecutive games played & 10,363 snaps played in a row from 2007-2017

●      20 different quarterbacks to protect in 10 years of NFL service

From the moment Thomas was selected third overall in 2007, he made a significant impact. The year 2007 marked the Browns’ best performance within the first two decades following their return, with only one other season managing to finish above a .500 record. While the standout performances that year from Braylon Edwards and Derek Anderson played a substantial role, Thomas’ exceptional blindside blocking brought an immediate and positive transformation to the franchise. Considering the franchise’s tumultuous history during Thomas’ tenure, it’s scary to contemplate where we might have been without his unwavering stability and consistency at one of the sport’s most pivotal positions.

Although the post-1999 Cleveland Browns have fallen far short of the storied history of the franchise, Joe Thomas will undoubtedly be remembered as the greatest offensive lineman in team history, consistently cited in debates as perhaps the greatest offensive tackle ever. Beyond his on-field prowess, his commitment to forming a bond with the city and its fans ensures his place among the greatest Browns of all time.

Nothing could better encapsulate the post-1999 franchise than having one of its premier players be an offensive lineman. While the #73 jersey might not have garnered the nationwide appeal of jerseys like Brady’s #12 or Manning’s #18, I believe it perfectly epitomizes the city and organization. We are a hardworking, resilient city whose passion is driven by our unique motivations, and we take pride in those who embrace us—whether they are offensive linemen sporting the number 73 or not.

More information can be found on the Hall of Fame’s website

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its 2023 class earlier this month as a part of the NFL Honors Awards show ahead of Super Bowl LVI. This year’s class of nine enshrinees includes:

  • Offensive tackle Joe Thomas
  • Linebacker Zach Thomas
  • Linebacker DeMarcus Ware
  • Cornerback Darrelle Revis
  • Cornerback Rondé Barber
  • Coach Don Coryell
  • Linebacker Chuck Howley
  • Defensive lineman Joe Klecko
  • Cornerback Ken Riley

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