CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas has become known for his loyalty and belief in the ability to turn around the fortunes of an organization that has experienced only one winning season since his selection with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft.
And despite consistent losing over the last 10 years, including an 0-16 record during the 2017 season, Thomas believes that after the arrival of general manager John Dorsey and his “all-star” front office staff, good things are on the horizon for the Browns.
“It’s an exciting time to be involved with the Browns, to be a fan,” Thomas said while making a guest appearance on the latest edition of the “Cavs HQ” podcast.
“To be sitting there with the No. 1 and No. 4 pick and like the 33rd and 35th or something like that, there’s four picks that we have in the first 35 or 40 picks, and right there, those guys can change your franchise. Not to mention all the salary-cap space and the willingness by the owner to spend money. There’s a reason John Dorsey came here over all the other places he could’ve chosen, so it’s going to be a fun offseason.”
Last season, the Browns set the record for the worst 28-game stretch in NFL history, as they bested the previous mark of 2-26 set by the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the 1976-1977 seasons with a 1-27 mark that got four losses worse over the final month of play.
“Where I’ve gotten involved is when the Browns are recruiting players, they’ll say, ‘Hey, if you want to know about the team or the city or anything, here’s this guy’s number. Call Joe. He’ll tell you everything you need to know. He’s been here 11, 12 years. He’ll be open and honest with you. He’ll tell you what you need to know,’” Thomas said.
Over the last four-plus years, the Browns have gone 4-49, which is the worst mark in the league in that timespan, and the record has not been much better since Dee and Jimmy Haslam officially purchased the team in October of 2012.
In five seasons under Haslam’s majority ownership, the Browns have posted an NFL-worst 15-65 record. Factoring in the remaining games of the 2012 season after the sale was approved at an NFL Owners Meeting in Chicago, the Browns have gone 19-70 under the Haslams.
“I really think the fan base is a big selling point for free agents, draft picks because once the team turns around, the support from the city and the status you’re going to have for the rest of your life for being a guy on the team that turned the Browns around, turned the franchise around,” Thomas said.
“You could go to New England and win a Super Bowl, and they’re going to forget your name a week later. You win a Super Bowl here in Cleveland and you’re here to turn around 25 years of really bad football and never won a Super Bowl, you’re a legend forever. You’re going to have a ton of statutes outside the stadium with your face on it.”