CLEVELAND -- Respect is important to professional athletes, and since going down with a torn triceps tendon in his left arm during Sunday’s 12-9 loss to the Tennessee Titans at FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas has found out just how much respect he has in NFL circles.
Thomas has received well wishes through text messages and on social media since suffering the injury, which brought to an end an impressive streak of 10,363 consecutive snaps played after being taken with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft.
“It means a lot,” Thomas said in a conference call with the Cleveland media Monday. “I’ve always tried to go about my business to be the best professional I could. I’ve tried to help as many people as I could throughout my career.”
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, Browns coach Hue 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.
Additionally, once Thomas was upright and heading toward the Browns’ sideline, Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan raced from his side of the field to extend his well wishes.
“Obviously, we’ve had a lot of people come and go throughout my career in the NFL with the Browns,” said Thomas, a 10-time Pro Bowl selection. “To have guys reach out to me via text or social media or on the field, it’s something that will definitely sink in in the next few days, but it just gives you kind of a warm feeling knowing what people think about you.”
Since suffering the injury, Thomas has said the response has been “a little bit overwhelming,” and will look to use that support system in his rehabilitation process following his surgery, which took place Tuesday.
“Obviously you have lots of family and friends that are reaching out, trying to figure out what’s going on and lots of the same people that are wishing you the best and hoping for good news,” Thomas said. “Then, you also have your own sort of thoughts about what happened and what does the future look like and what is the surgery going to be like if I need surgery, what’s the rehab?
“You’ve got a lot of emotions. It’s sort of a roller coaster. I guess plenty of highs and plenty of lows, and I’m sure that will continue here for another few weeks, but I’m just kind of focused on the surgery, and then, the rehab portion of it, and as soon as they let me loose, just trying to attack my rehab and trying to get back to 100 percent as quickly as I can.”
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