I hadn't remembered that Joe Thomas announced, when he was drafted, that his "primary goal" was to make it to the football Hall of fame**. If I had, I don't think I'd have liked it. Sure, it's not like he said he was "on the hunt to get this money YA DIGG!!" as Phil Taylor so eloquently put it in April. But still, seems unlike Joe Thomas to put himself first like that--not wanting a Super Bowl Ring more than anything--wanting a yellow jacket. Now that he plays here, it seems ludicrous to think that he could have said that.
|And Browns fans get their man / Joshua Gunter/PD|
Sure enough, four standout, Pro Bowl, never-missed-a-game seasons later, he is the perfect fit. And he could have walked after next year, looking for greener pastures. (Figuratively in two senses--wins and dollars.) But it turns out he never wanted to. Even though he must have been hankerin' for a new contract, he never peeped to the press about it. He never took to Twitter to complain about the front office. He never pointed out that he could never commit to an organization that couldn't keep a coach more than two years. He did (apparently) make his case quietly and effectively, for a raise. And the Browns gave it to him.
Did they ever. $44 million guaranteed dollars, a 7 year deal worth up to $84 million. He has bought completely into the Browns' new system, raving about Coach Shurmer and Colt McCoy, the fans, the front office, and the entire organization. He will most likely finish his career right where it started.
And right where it should. Let's just hope the Browns don't waste any more of the special player they have in number 73. And number 73 will live on for a generation of Browns fans, like 19, 29, 31, 32, 57, 82, 84 before him. (Sorry, Leroy Hoard didn't make my cut. Barely, though.)
**In Mary Kay Cabot's article, Thomas indicates that, indeed, the Hall of Fame is a goal for him, but also claims that "five years ago...my top goal...was to bring a championship here and I see the huge strides we've made." So he probably just had a silly quote as a rookie. I want to see him in a yellow jacket too. But want to see him in a parade down Euclid Avenue first.