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Browns tackle Joe Thomas retires after 11 seasons, end of an era

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The Cleveland Browns enter a new era, one without tackle Joe Thomas, who is retiring after 11 seasons with the team

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Browns star left tackle Joe Thomas has retired after 11 seasons in the NFL, ending a career in which he exemplified durability, dependability and dominance.

A 10-time Pro Bowler, Thomas announced his decision Wednesday after spending several months contemplating whether to come back following a season-ending injury. Thomas never missed a snap before tearing his left triceps during an Oct. 22 game against Tennessee. His streak of 10,363 consecutive plays is believed to be the longest run in pro football history.

Thomas was selected by the Browns with the No. 3 overall pick in 2007 out of Wisconsin, and the gregarious 6-foot-6, 310-pounder became the best player in Cleveland’s expansion era.

Thomas is just one of five players — and the only offensive lineman — to be selected to the Pro Bowl in his first 10 seasons. The other four players are Hall of Famers.

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