Sometimes we laugh through our pain.
Left tackle Joe Thomas has heard all those Cleveland Browns jokes people have been making for the last 11 years. On Monday, he sat down for his retirement press conference ready to unleash a few jokes of his own. Throughout his Browns career they were the laughingstock of the NFL and if you can’t beat ’em, join em.
Retirement press conferences are typically solemn, emotional affairs. However, as the sole remaining survivor on the Chernobyl Browns, Thomas brought some levity to a career that was a testament to greatness shining through a cloud of mediocrity. After Cleveland went 10-6 during Thomas’ rookie season, the Browns lost 138 of 160 games. Yet, Thomas’ cathartic roast of the Browns remained tasteful.
Thomas wasn’t a jester the entire day though. Once he got the jokes out of the way, Thomas discussed his greatest memories as a Brown, including an overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens in 2007 and Joshua Cribbs’ record-setting day against Kansas City in 2009. He even teared up when a reporter thanked him for his professionalism.
Until 2017, Thomas was named a Pro Bowler every season, never missed a single snap, much less a game. However, enduring a 1-31 record over his final two seasons, injuries and the revolving door of sub-par quarterbacks wore on Thomas. Even more dispiriting is that Peyton Hillis in 2010 was the last 1,000 yard rusher behind Thomas’ offensive line.
Amazingly, Thomas is still only 33. Thomas hasn’t outlined any specific plans for his post-football future, but given his gregarious personality, his role as co-host of the popular ThomaHawk podcast alongside Andrew Hawkins and his high football IQ, odds are high that he takes the leap into broadcasting.
Thomas was later honored during the Cleveland Cavaliers’ home game on Monday night by a reverent crowd and LeBron James.
– – – – – – –
More from Yahoo Sports:
• NCAA tourney: Ranking the Sweet 16 teams from best to worst
• Crazy Jets trade tells us how the first four picks in the NFL draft will go
• Tyronn Lue taking leave of absence from Cavs
• Ryan Shazier ‘definitely’ believes he’ll play again