(Editor’s Note: Article first published on November 4, 2018)
The Cleveland Browns lost another game this week and if you follow professional football, this was not surprising. The Browns have started nearly 30 different quarterbacks since 1999 resulting in only two winning seasons. Despite all the losses over the years, this week’s loss might have been the worst since the original Cleveland Browns left town to become the Baltimore Ravens.
You see, they lost the face of their franchise. They lost Mr. Reliable. They lost the one thing they could count on day in and day out. They lost offensive lineman Joe Thomas to an injury.
Football is a physical game. Injuries in the NFL are common place. But injuries to Joe Thomas are not typical or common. Joe Thomas had not missed a snap in the NFL since being drafted as the third pick in 2007. He played more than 10,000 straight snaps without taking a play off to rest, because of injury, or because he was just plain frustrated playing for the lowly Cleveland Browns.
He is a 10-time Pro Bowler and is a sure-fire future Hall of Famer. When he got hurt yesterday, players from the other team came over to encourage him and wish him well. Joe Thomas is the consummate pro. Not only is he talented, but he’s well-respected by opponents and teammates, alike.
In today’s “look-at-me” culture, he was different. He didn’t complain about playing for the worst team in football. Instead, he counted his blessings that he even gets to play at all and then shows up for work every single day for every single play for ten years.
How about us? Some of us have jobs that we don’t like. Do we complain about them? Do we give less than our best because we don’t get promoted or recognized enough? I say we learn something from Joe Thomas, who despite playing for a flawed franchise, still did his part each and every day to make it better. He was dependable, reliable, and consistent regardless of the situation.