CLEVELAND -- Ten-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas has been loyal to the Cleveland Browns since the day they selected him with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft out of the University of Wisconsin, and that faith despite a lack of success was rewarded by the franchise.
The Browns amended Thomas’ contract over the weekend, and the additions will make him the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL during the 2018 season.
“The idea there was really something we had contemplated and discussed for some weeks prior to Joe’s injury and his injury just came at an inopportune time to sit with him,” Browns executive vice president Sashi Brown said.
“Thought it was the right thing to do by him.”
Thomas felt he was well on his way to becoming an 11-time Pro Bowl player, but a torn triceps tendon in his left arm in the team’s 12-9 loss to the Tennessee Titans at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 22nd brought his 2017 season to a premature end.
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. Following the play, Thomas emerged from the pile holding his left arm and writhing in pain as he fell to the turf.
Tended to for several moments on the field, Thomas was helped to his feet and walked to the sidelines while talking with Browns medical personal.
Last December, Thomas was selected to his 10th consecutive Pro Bowl, and went 10 for 10 in all-star game nods over his first decade in the NFL. Thomas became the first Browns player ever selected to participate in 10 Pro Bowls.
Prior to the injury, Thomas played 10,363 consecutive snaps, which is believed to be the longest such streak in NFL history.
“He’s been a warrior,” Brown said. “He obviously has played at a very high level for a very long time, and he represents a tremendous amount for this organization. Hue, Jimmy, myself and the rest of the staff and this organization appreciate the heck out of him and what he has given to the organization.
“(We) felt terrible that he had the injury and brought an end to his streak this year, but we were able to extend him and bring him to one of the higher paid, if not the highest paid left tackle in the game for this and next year, and we were pleased to do that.”
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