BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns began the process of rebuilding their front office with the dismissal of Sashi Brown, the executive vice president of football operations on Thursday morning after just 23 months on the job.
However, Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam took the unique step of announcing that coach Hue Jackson will be retained for at least the 2018 season, and the most tenured player in the locker room, 10-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas, believes that was an important step in the growth of the organization.
“I think consistency within the coaching staff is a huge thing,” Thomas said. “Hue is a great coach.
“It’s important to have that consistency, especially for all of the young players we have. They’re being developed right now, and it’s important for them to have a single voice from a head coach and a single voice from their position coach, molding them into NFL players. I think that’s important.”
Thomas stood by Jackson despite the team being mired in the worst stretch of losing in the history of the National Football League.
With their 12th consecutive loss of the 2017 season at the Los Angeles Chargers last week, the Browns dropped to 1-27 since the front-office regime of Brown and chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta took control of the organization and hired Jackson as their coach in early January of 2016.
The Browns’ winless streak now stands at 348 days, and they have not won on a Sunday afternoon since December 13, 2015. The 29 straight Sunday losses are an NFL record, and their 4-45 mark in the last 49 outings is the worst in the league in that four-year span.
Additionally, the Browns’ 1-27 mark is the worst in league history over a 28-game stretch, beating the previous mark of 2-26 set by the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1976-1977 seasons.
“I haven't been privy to the inside workings of the front office, and so, it's hard to say if it was a plan issue or if it was a personality issue or whatever,” Thomas said. “I have no idea.
“It's hard to say that the plan was being rejected because we don't know that for a fact. I've been here through a lot of hirings and firings, and it wasn't always because people didn't like the plan. Sometimes, it was personality related. Sometimes, it was a lot of other things.”
In his 11 seasons out of the University of Wisconsin after being selected by the Browns with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, Thomas has played for six head coaches and six front-office executives and was given a bump in salary heading into the final year of his contract, which runs through the 2018 season.
Having gone through surgery to repair a torn triceps tendon in his left arm, which brought to an end what is believed to be the longest consecutive snaps streak in NFL history (10,363), Thomas does not yet know what his future holds.
And Thursday’s decision to retain Jackson while firing Brown has not expedited Thomas’ career plans.
“I haven't really thought about that,” Thomas said. “I'm going to just take my time and wait until I'm a little healthier to try to make a decision.”