Is this the end of Joe Thomas career? The Cleveland Browns left tackle revealed on Monday that he will be sitting out the rest of the season on an injury. “MRI reveals torn tricep tendon. Surgery soon. Tough break,” he tweeted.
Talking to reporters, he revealed that the surgery is scheduled no later than Tuesday but he won’t fully recover at least six months. The maximum estimated time of recovery is nine months.
Thomas still has one year left on the contract signed with the Browns. Most of it spent in recovery.
“Am I done playing? I don’t know. I think that’s a decision that’s best talked about in the offseason,” he said. “That decision about do I continue to play or do I retire I think is something I’ve always left up to the offseason.”
Prior to the injury, Thomas was a virtual ironman. He played 10,363 consecutive plays, which is reportedly unmatched in the history of the NFL. He’s also in the elite list of players who managed to make the Pro Bowl in their first 10 seasons. The other names are Barry Sanders, Mel Renfro, Lawrence Taylor and Merlin Olsen.
According to Yahoo Sports, Thomas knew immediately that something was wrong after wrestling with the Titans linebacker, Brian Orakpo. “I felt the tendon detach from my elbow, roll up into my triceps. It definitely hurt,” he said.
The No. 3 pick has yet to miss a game this season prior to his injury. The Browns are now in the unenviable position of how to replace one of the best offensive tackles—not just in the team but in the entire league. Reportedly, Zach Branner will likely be tapped to step in and fill the huge hole that Thomas has left.
Because of his storied career, Thomas is a shoo-in for the NFL Hall of Fame.