CLEVELAND -- Will Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas play again in the National Football League after suffering a torn triceps tendon in his left arm during the third quarter of Sunday’s 12-9 loss to the Tennessee Titans at FirstEnergy Stadium?
With surgery scheduled for Tuesday and a nine-month rehabilitation process looming, Thomas is not sure what the future holds, and says a decision about his future will be made in the offseason.
“For me, right now, I’m just kind of focusing on my immediate future, just trying to get my medical stuff in order, figuring out when I’m going to have my surgery, where I’m going to have my surgery, what the rehab’s going to look like, and just kind of focusing on that stuff right now,” Thomas said on a conference call with the Cleveland media.
“‘Am I done playing?’ I don’t know. I think that’s a decision that is best to be talked about in the offseason. Right now is obviously too soon after the injury and before the surgery. You have no idea how any of the rehab or the surgery is going to go.”
Thomas further elaborated that the decision will be made during the offseason out of respect for his teammates who are focusing on the remainder of the season, as well as his recovery process following surgery.
“For me, talking about the last few years of my career, that decision about ‘Do I continue to play or do I retire’ I think is something that I’ve always left up to the offseason because I think it does take some time to get away from football and have reflection and discussions with family and just figure out what the next step would be of my career and if it’s the right time to continue or if it’s the right time to hang it up,” Thomas said.
“Right now, it’s too early to make any decisions. Obviously, you go through a range of emotions after an injury like that, and like I said, I think it’s the most fair to myself and my teammates to just wait until after the season to really kind of sit down with my family and kind of discuss what the future looks like.”
A franchise-record 10-time Pro Bowl player, Thomas was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft out of the University of Wisconsin. Prior to the injury, Thomas played 10,363 consecutive snaps, which is believed to be the longest such streak in NFL history.
When asked about the rehabilitation process, Thomas said the first three months following surgery is limited to “getting some of the range of motion back” with light work over the next three months. After the six-month mark, Thomas said he will be “starting to lift some heavier weights and kind of getting back into the flow of things.”
And Thomas wants to see how the process goes before making a decision on his NFL career.
“I guess those are the conversations that are best left into the offseason when I have a chance to maybe start my rehab and see how things are progressing and have that conversation with the family,” Thomas said. “Certainly, I've got one more year on my contract and we'll see how things shake out in the offseason.”
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