Browns tackle Joe Thomas retires after 11 seasons


CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Browns star left tackle Joe Thomas has retired after 11 seasons in the NFL, ending a career in which he exemplified durability, dependability and dominance.

A 10-time Pro Bowler, Thomas announced his decision today after spending several months contemplating whether to come back after a season-ending injury.

Thomas never missed a snap before tearing his left triceps during an Oct. 22 game against Tennessee. His streak of 10,363 consecutive plays is believed to be the longest run in pro football history.

"This was an extremely difficult decision, but the right one for me and my family," Thomas said. "Playing in the NFL has taken a toll on my body, and I can no longer physically compete at the level I need to."

Thomas was selected by the Browns with the No. 3 overall pick in 2007 out of Wisconsin, and the gregarious 6-foot-6, 310-pounder became the best player in Cleveland's expansion era.

"From the moment I was drafted, the city embraced me in a way that I could never fully describe," Thomas said. "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."

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