He was a class act all the way. While he deserved to be on a winner and get a shot at the Super Bowl, don't feel too sorry for him. He got a lot out of playing football and playing for the Cleveland Browns.
"From the moment I was drafted, the city embraced me in a way that I could never fully describe. I am proud to call Cleveland home. The loyalty and passion of Browns fans is unmatched and it was an honor to play in front of them from the past 11 years. I would like to thank all of the coaches, teammates, staff, fans and everyone who has shown me support throughout my career. Even though I will be hanging up my cleats, I will always be a Cleveland Brown."
He played at a high level. He was the only offensive lineman in history to make the Pro Bowl in his first 10 seasons. But his 10,363 straight snaps is his real legacy. This is what it means:
"I think it was just something that was ingrained in me when I was a little kid,'' Thomas said about his Iron Man streak. "It was just all about being out there to help your teammates and doing everything you can to help the team win," Thomas said. "Fighting through pain and adversity. I never really considered not going out there and giving my all because I always felt that the team and my teammates relied on me to be out there. No matter what the conditions were or what situation the team was in, I always felt that it was my job to be out there.''
Every play mattered to Joe Thomas. He knew his teammates needed him and he wouldn't let them down.
There's not enough guys like that in life.
Browns' Joe Thomas retires after 11 seasons, gone fishin' for good | cleveland.com