Joe Thomas (offensive tackle)

Joe Thomas
Thomas in 2015
No. 73
Position: Offensive tackle
Personal information
Born: (1984-12-04) December 4, 1984
Brookfield, Wisconsin
Height: 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Weight: 312 lb (142 kg)
Career information
High school: Brookfield (WI) Central
College: Wisconsin
NFL Draft: 2007 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played: 167
Games started: 167
Player stats at

Joseph Hayden Thomas (born December 4, 1984) is a former American football offensive tackle who played his entire 11-season career for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Wisconsin, earned unanimous All-American honors, and was recognized as the top college interior lineman. The Browns chose Thomas with the third overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. He was invited to the Pro Bowl in each of his first 10 seasons and did not miss a single play in his career until the 2017 season (his final season in the NFL); his 10,363 consecutive snaps played is the longest streak since the NFL began recording snap counts in 1999.

Early years

Thomas was born in Brookfield, Wisconsin. His parents are Eric and Sally Thomas. He attended Brookfield Central High School, and played right tackle, defensive end, tight end, fullback, placekicker, and punter for the Brookfield Central Lancers high school football team. He was listed among the top 20 offensive tackles nationally, PrepStar All-American, second-team All-America offensive guard according to USA Today, member of the Detroit Free Press All-Midwest team, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first-team all-state defensive lineman and second-team all-state offensive guard as a junior, and also received first-team all-state honors at defensive end from the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) and Associated Press. He was recognized as the WFCA 2002 Defensive Player of the Year. He had 85 tackles and 12 sacks as a senior. As a junior, he had 70 tackles and eight sacks. He was listed as the third best prospect in the state of Wisconsin in 2003. Aside from his athletic prowess, Thomas performed well academically. He was a four-year honor roll student and a part of the U.S. Army Academic All-America team and played in the 2003 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Regarded as a four-star recruit by, Thomas was ranked as the No. 18 offensive tackle prospect in the class of 2003.[1] Wisconsin, Nebraska, Colorado, and Notre Dame vied for his recruitment before he signed his letter of intent to Wisconsin in January 2003.

In track and field, Thomas set the school record for shot put and discus with throws of 64 ft 10 in (19.76 m) and 185 ft 7 in (56.57 m).[2] He lettered four times in track and field. He also holds the school indoor record in the shot put (62 ft 1 14 in or 18.93 m).

College career

Thomas enrolled in the University of Wisconsin, where he played for the Wisconsin Badgers football team from 2003 to 2006. As a true freshman in 2003 he mostly saw action as a blocking tight end. In 2004, he started all 12 games at left tackle, helping the Badgers' ground game with Anthony Davis and Matt Bernstein in the backfield.

In 2005, Barry Alvarez's final season, he started all 13 games at left tackle and was named a first-team All-American by Pro Football Weekly. He blocked for Brian Calhoun, who had an impressive year, racking up 1,500 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards. Thomas considered declaring for the 2006 NFL Draft, where he was projected among the top 15 picks (and projected as the second offensive lineman behind Virginia prospect D'Brickashaw Ferguson). The Badgers were invited to the Capital One Bowl against Auburn, where they prevailed 24–10. Unfortunately, Thomas tore his ACL playing defensive end because of injuries to other players at the position. The Badgers finished that season 10–3 with a #15 national ranking. Soon after the game, Thomas announced that he would be returning to Wisconsin for his final year.

His senior season in 2006 began with high expectations. As the offensive captain, he started all 13 games and blocked for P. J. Hill, Jr., who racked up over 1,500 yards on the ground. Following the regular season, Thomas won the Outland Trophy as the nation's top interior lineman, and he was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American. Thomas and the Badgers were again invited to the Capital One Bowl, this time against Arkansas. The Badgers prevailed 17–14 and finished the season 12–1.

He also excelled at shot put for the Badgers' track and field team. He garnered national recognition for record-breaking performances in shot put and discus throw. He was a 2005 second-team All-Big Ten Conference selection, as he qualified for the 2004 and 2005 NCAA Regionals in the shot put and discus throw. He majored in business administration while at the University of Wisconsin.

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP
6 ft 6 58 in
(2.00 m)
311 lb
(141 kg)
4.93 s 1.79 s 2.93 s 4.88 s 7.95 s 33 in
(0.84 m)
9 ft 2 in
(2.79 m)
28 reps
All values from NFL Combine

2007 season

The Cleveland Browns drafted Thomas in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft, third overall. Thomas spent the draft fishing on Lake Michigan with his father, father-in-law, and Joe Panos, who was also a standout offensive lineman at Wisconsin and is a former Brookfield resident. Thomas discovered he was drafted by the Browns via cell phone.[3]

Thomas signed a six-year contract worth $43 million, $23 million guaranteed, including a voidable year, with the Browns. Thomas won the starting left tackle job, with previous Browns left tackle Kevin Shaffer moving to right tackle. He made his NFL debut versus the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 1 and played every offensive snap for the Browns in 2007. Thomas quickly became one of the top-performing members of the 2007 draft class and was named the NFL's Rookie of the Month for November. Thomas was selected to the 2008 Pro Bowl, replacing Jason Peters of the Buffalo Bills.

Thomas came in second in the voting for NFL Rookie of the Year. He was the only person to receive votes, besides the eventual winner, Adrian Peterson.

2008 season

Thomas was selected to his second pro bowl. During the 2008 campaign, the Browns offensive line only allowed 19 sacks, which was tied for the third fewest in franchise history. [4] Thomas played in every snap during the season, though the Browns finished the season 4-12.

2009 season

Thomas was selected to his third pro bowl.

2010 season

Thomas was selected to his fourth pro bowl.

2011 season

On August 22, 2011 Thomas and the Browns agreed to a record setting seven-year $84 million extension with $44 million guaranteed.[5] The deal was negotiated by his agent Peter Schaffer and Matt Thomas and Tom Heckert of the Browns.

On December 27, 2011, Thomas was named to his fifth straight Pro Bowl since the Browns drafted him. Since 1970, Thomas and Richmond Webb of the Miami Dolphins are the only NFL offensive linemen to make the Pro Bowl in each of their first five seasons. Thomas and Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown are the only Browns players ever to be selected to the Pro Bowl for the first five seasons of their careers. Hall of Fame running back Leroy Kelly was the last Browns player to earn five or more consecutive invitations to the Pro Bowl.

2012 season

On December 26, 2012, Thomas was named to his sixth straight Pro Bowl. Thomas joins a short list of only 15 players who have made the Pro Bowl in each of their first six seasons in NFL history.

2013 season

On December 27, 2013, Thomas was voted to his seventh straight Pro Bowl selection. Thomas joins Hall of Famer Jim Brown as the only two Browns to make the Pro Bowl in their first seven seasons. Thomas on making his 7th straight Pro Bowl became one of only 11 players in NFL history to make it their first seven seasons. The list of other players who have done it and gone on to make the Hall of Fame includes Dick Butkus, Joe Greene, Franco Harris, Merlin Olsen, Mel Renfro, Barry Sanders, Lawrence Taylor and Derrick Thomas.

2014 season

On December 23, 2014, Thomas made NFL history, becoming the only offensive lineman to be named to the Pro Bowl in each of his first eight seasons.[6]

On the NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2014, Thomas was voted the 18th best player overall in the league by his peers.[7]

2015 season

At the end of the 2015 season, Thomas was named the recipient of Pro Football Focus's Bruce Matthews Award for best offensive lineman in the league.[8] He was ranked 23rd on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016.[9]

2016 season

Thomas kept his Pro Bowl streak alive in 2016 being named to his 10th straight Pro Bowl, despite the Browns finishing with a league worst 1–15 record.[10] He was also ranked 25th by his peers on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017.[11]

2017 season

In 2017, Thomas revealed that he had been experiencing early stage memory loss, but that he would not allow it to affect his career.[12][13]

On September 17, 2017, Thomas played his 10,000th consecutive snap since being drafted into the NFL, having never missed a single play.[14][15][16] He is the first player to reach the milestone in NFL history.[17] Thomas' iron man consecutive snap streak ended at 10,363 on October 22, 2017, when he injured his triceps while blocking the Tennessee Titans' Brian Orakpo.[18] The next day, it was revealed that he suffered a torn triceps in his left arm, which prematurely ended his 2017 season as he was placed on injured reserve.[19][20] On November 4, the Browns gave Thomas a raise in pay.[21]


On March 14, 2018, Thomas announced his retirement from the NFL.[22]


  1. "". Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  2. "Brookfield Central Track Records". Retrieved 22 November 2015.
  3. Wagner, Andrew (October 10, 2007), "Not your average Joe: Joe Thomas steps up to the line for the Cleveland Browns", Greater Milwaukee Today
  4. Browns LT Joe Thomas named to AFC Pro Bowl roster, January 8, 2008
  5. Schefter, Adam (August 22, 2010), "Filed to ESPN: Browns Reach agreement with OT Joe Thomas", Adam Schefter's Twitter
  6. "Joe Thomas' Pro Bowl record lands jersey in Pro Football Hall of Fame". Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  7. "'Top 100 Players of 2014': Joe Thomas - NFL RUSH". NFL RUSH. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  8. "News and Analysis for NFL and Fantasy Football - Pro Football Focus". Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  9. "'Top 100 Players of 2016': No. 23 Joe Thomas". Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  10. "NFL announces 2017 Pro Bowl rosters". December 20, 2016.
  11. NFL Top 100 Players of 2017 - No. 25 Joe Thomas
  12. Pat McManamon (April 26, 2017). "Browns' Joe Thomas: 'Willing to accept' the risks of playing in NFL". ESPN.
  13. Tim Daniels (April 26, 2017). "Joe Thomas Says He's Experiencing Memory Loss, 'Willing to Accept' Risks of NFL". Bleacher Report.
  14. "Joe Thomas had the perfect way to celebrate 10,000 consecutive snaps". For The Win. 2017-09-18. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  15. Gribble, Andrew. "An Unprecedented Milestone". Cleveland Browns.
  16. McManamon, Pat. "Ironman streak of Browns' Thomas reaches 10,000 plays". ESPN. ESPN. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  17. "Joe Thomas has played 10,000 consecutive snaps. That's unreal". Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  18. "Browns' Joe Thomas injures right arm, ironman plays streak ends". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2017-10-22.
  19. Patra, Kevin (October 23, 2017). "Joe Thomas (triceps) expected to miss rest of season".
  20. "Browns place OL Joe Thomas on injured reserve". October 23, 2017.
  21. Shook, Nick. "Browns increase pay for Joe Thomas after injury". NFL. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  22. Gribble, Andrew (March 14, 2018). "Browns legend Joe Thomas announces his retirement". Retrieved March 14, 2018.
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