CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns lost their rock in Sunday’s 12-9 setback against the Tennessee Titans at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Browns left tackle Joe Thomas suffered a left triceps injury in the third quarter and did not return to the game. Additionally, after the game, the Browns confirmed Thomas needed further testing before determining what the rest of the season holds for their 10-time Pro Bowl blocker.
“That one is really personal to me,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “He is a huge part of what we do, a huge part of this organization. We will see where that is, but that was a big blow because obviously, those things with him over there change the game on how you have to call the game, try to protect and those type of things and they took advantage of that as we went. That is just what good teams do. We will continue to rally back and get better and get ready for this week.”
On first-and-10 from Tennessee’s 27-yard line, Browns running back Duke Johnson ran behind the left side of the offensive line for a three-yard gain. Thomas emerged from the pile holding his left arm and writhing in pain as he fell to the turf.
While the medical team tended to Thomas, Jackson took his headset off, jogged to the other side of the field where his left tackle laid flat for several moments, and expressed his support and concern.
“Absolutely, that is why I walked out there on the field,” Jackson said. “Joe Thomas means that much to me, personally and professionally, and that is tough because I know what he is all about just like you guys do. He is one of the best of the best. Like I said to him and I will keep saying to everybody, he deserves better, and we have to get him better.”
Last December, Thomas was selected to his 10th consecutive Pro Bowl, and went 10 for 10 in all-star game nods since entering the league via the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft out of the University of Wisconsin. Thomas was the first Browns player ever selected to participate in 10 Pro Bowls.
Thomas joined an elite group of athletes with the 10th straight selection, as defensive tackle Merlin Olsen (Los Angeles Rams), defensive back/running back Mel Renfro (Dallas Cowboys), running back Barry Sanders (Detroit Lions) and linebacker Lawrence Taylor (New York Giants) are the only other players who went 10 for 10 in Pro Bowl appearances over their first decade in the NFL.
Prior to the injury, Thomas had played 10,363 consecutive snaps, which is believed to be the longest such streak in the history of the NFL, and that is why Jackson told him “That I love him and I appreciate everything that he is” before the veteran left tackle left the field.
“I promised him that when he is back, if he is back, that we are going to get this thing figured out because he is Cleveland Browns football,” Jackson said. “He is a guy that keeps us all going and moving forward. We owe him more than what we have given him thus far. That is for sure.”
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