Nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas began his career with the Cleveland Browns, and if it were up to him, he would like to end it that way.
With the Browns’ front-office staff looking to get younger over the last two years, Thomas has been the subject of many trade rumors. But head coach Hue Jackson expressed earlier this week that the Browns are not going to deal their stalwart offensive lineman, something that was music to Thomas’ ears.
“It feels good to be loved,” Thomas said. “I am hoping they stick to their word. I really want to be here. It is important for me to be here for the turnaround.”
Thomas has done a lot of things in his professional career since being selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, but asking for a trade from the Browns to a contending team is not one of them.
As he is now, Thomas was the subject of many “reports” and rumors heading into last year’s trading deadline, but no deal was consummated before time ran out. Over the weekend before the deadline, stories surfaced saying that Thomas and his agent were the ones who initiated trade talks, but he objected to such claims that a deal was short-circuited because of a request for guaranteed money beyond the 2015 season.
“I think some of the details came out after the fact, whether they were true details or not, the story that you got after the fact is usually what the reality is,” Thomas said. “I think there had been rumors going up to the trade deadline that Denver was interested. I had heard those same rumors. Now, I do not know to what level that was true, but like I said, I try not to focus on it too much because I have more important things to worry about during the season.”
Following a 3-13 season in 2015 that ended with a 28-12 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium on January 3, 2016, the Browns announced the firings of head coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer.
Thomas called into question his future with the team, but when it was announced that Jackson would be the new coach, the veteran blocker bought into the new direction and is committed to doing what he has watched former teams do, win the Super Bowl.
“I am a goal setter,” Thomas said. “I am the kind of guy that is very goal oriented. To me, doing the things you say you are going to do is important. When I first got here, my goal was to make the playoffs and to be a part of turning the Browns around into a consistent winner. We haven’t done that yet, so my mission is not yet complete here.
“I want to have it in Cleveland.”