By Tony Grossi, Hall of Fame Selector
To fellow selectors:
Just a very short note of reminder on offensive tackle Joe Thomas, who is on the ballot for the first time.
In 11 years, the Cleveland Browns had a winning record (10-6) only in Joe’s first season. Which makes the following achievements truly remarkable, in my opinion:
* He’s only the fifth player in NFL history to earn a Pro Bowl selection in each of his first 10 seasons. The others are Pro Football Hall of Famers Barry Sanders, Lawrence Taylor, Mel Renfro and Merlin Olsen. By the way, Thomas attended every one of his 10 Pro Bowls.
* He was an All-Pro selection at left tackle eight times.
* He played every single snap of every single game until he suffered what turned out to be a career-ending torn triceps injury in the 7th game of his 11th season. That amounted to 10,353 consecutive snaps played, believed to be the longest streak in NFL history. The number might be an obscure statistic, but it speaks to Thomas’ dedication to the game and his team. The Browns were winless through those seven games and eventually lost them all that year.
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