BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – A few weeks off and a pay raise haven’t changed Joe Thomas’s mind as to when he will decide if he will play in 2018.
Thomas plans to weigh 3 factors that will determine of he will return: his health, love of the game and playing at a high level.
“I’m playing well enough so I that’s not an issue and I feel like I still love it so I think it’s going to come down to does my body still feel like it’s okay to play another season going into my 12th season,” Thomas said. “That’s a decision that I’ll tackle after the season is over in January or February.”
The state of the Browns will also be another factor for Thomas to consider. With the team 0-8 and multiple reports about the front office and coaching staffs not being on the same page changes could come at the end of the year and Thomas doesn’t sound like he’d be thrilled with yet another reset of the franchise.
“If I want to come back, if I can come back, is it going to be for trying to pursue a championship or are we trying to pursue a playoff berth or are we trying to pursue a first pick overall,” Thomas said. “Those are all things that all could play into that decision.”
Thomas, now sporting a large brace on his surgically repaired left arm, has been back on the practice field this week working with the offensive line as he dips his toe into coaching.
“I know the passion is there,” Thomas said. “I just am not sure the time commitment is something I would be willing to accept right now. Certainly that could change but I really respect and feel sorry for what these coaches have to do as far as the time away from their family.”
Thomas was given $3 million more reasons to come back when the Browns added a $1.5 million roster bonus to his contract this year and an additional $1.5 million to his 2018 salary.
“It was something we’ve talked about for a couple of years,” Thomas said, “and it was sort of interesting or – probably not ironic but – right before I got hurt they decided that they were ready to adjust my contract, do a market-value adjustment for the last 2 years and they didn’t tell me yet though. They were going to tell me the Monday after I got hurt, so I get hurt and they waited a week to tell me but I thought it was pretty cool that they followed through with what they were going to do in spite of having that season-ending injury.”
Thomas tore the triceps tendon in his left elbow in the third quarter of a 12-9 overtime loss to the Titans on Oct. 22 and had surgery to repair in on Oct. 24 ending his consecutive snaps streak at 10,363 and consecutive games streak at 167.
He’ll need 6-9 months of rehab to recover.
Shortly after the injury Thomas said that he heard from 8-time Pro Bowl center Kevin Mawae, who came back strong from back-to-back torn triceps tendons, which was encouraging to Thomas.
As he begins to recover, Thomas has begun thinking about life after football but with his intelligence, personality and work ethic, his options are wide open.
Including playing in 2018.