CLEVELAND — Joe Thomas will carry the Browns back to Canton and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Boy, it's been a while. He becomes the 18th member of the Browns to be enshrined, but more importantly, he becomes the first Browns player in the new era of the team (since 1999) to be voted in.
And remember, Joe makes it into the Hall on his first year of eligibility. That is not an easy trip.
Joe played on only one Browns team that had a winning record. He never tasted the playoffs, but he did have the bitter taste of a season where the Browns won only one game, and then followed that up with a winless year.
I knew Joe Thomas was right for Cleveland from the day he was drafted third overall by the Browns in the 2007 NFL Draft. He spent the biggest day of his football life... fishing with his dad back in Wisconsin.
Remember, in that same draft, Browns fans were more excited when the team pulled off a late first-round trade with the Dallas Cowboys and picked up quarterback Brady Quinn out of Notre Dame. There was more buzz about Quinn than Big Joe Thomas, and now, look at where Joe is tonight.
Joe was the master technician at left tackle. He was a coach's dream, in that he played every week and he played well.
So, no, we haven't had much to cheer about since 1999 in this football crazy town. But we have Joe Thomas, and now the Hall of Fame has him, too, and that's a perfect fit.