BEREA, OH (WOIO) - Death. Taxes. Joe Thomas in the Pro Bowl. There aren't a lot of sure things in life, but those are three.
Thomas has now run the streak to 10, maybe the only positive in what has become the worst year, record-wise, of his career.
"It's really humbling to have the respect of the opponents and coaches you go against every week, being on a team that's not quite so successful," Thomas said with a smile on Wednesday. "To still get that type of respect, it's something that, when you reflect on it, is humbling."
The Browns are only the fourth team in NFL history to go 0-14 in a season, and are two losses away from matching the 2008 Detroit Lions' historic run of 0-16.
No doubt, Thomas is the Browns' one true franchise player -- 10 years, 10 Pro Bowls, and a career that will end in Canton at the Hall of Fame.
Now the tough part: the closest he's come to the playoffs was back in his rookie year (2007). He hasn't been close since. And he may have a Hall of Fame career without ever experiencing it.
"What I get disappointed about, and I'll say it again, I'm not going to run from this, I get disappointed he has not won games in this league like I think players like him deserve," said head coach Hue Jackson.
But Thomas insists he's not weighed down by the years of losing.
"The big picture stuff, I don't have a lot of time to think about. I just focus on what we're doing this week," he said. "It's something I'll reflect on when I'm retired."
That won't be anytime soon. Thomas keeps plugging away -- and leading the way -- at an All-Star level.
"He's one of our best players," Jackson said. "He's the cornerstone of this team, still, obviously he's getting up there in age, but Joe is accountable, determined, disciplined, in his preparation, week in and week out."
There are many impressive things about Joe Thomas. His leadership. The Pro Bowls. But nothing tops the streak -- an NFL-best 9,791 consecutive snaps since joining the Browns. He's never missed one. He has brought an unparalleled level of success to this franchise. It'd be nice if he's around long enough for them to return the favor.
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