Think about that for a second. Thomas hasn’t missed a snap in a game since he began playing for the Browns in 2007. He’s avoided injury and decline; he’s played on a decade’s worth of wretched teams, and he’s made the Pro Bowl 10 times. It’s an achievement unlike any other in NFL history.
Never missed a game.
Never missed a snap.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 17, 2017
“I’m not sure what all the commotion is about,” Thomas said Thursday, embodying the just-a-lunchpail-totin’-dude ethic that this kind of streak demands. “I’m just a guy that shows up and does his job every day, hoping I can set a good example for my teammates.”
Thomas has played with a range of injuries, and during that time, the Browns have gone a woeful 48-113. He still hasn’t made the playoffs yet, which seems like a crime.
“I’ve never considered not being out there and not helping the team,” Thomas said earlier in the week. “Unless I absolutely can’t do it, I will be out there. That’s just the way I was raised, but it does get frustrating at times when a guy doesn’t play because he doesn’t feel good. To that, I say, ‘I hardly ever feel good and I’m out there.'”
[Watch on Yahoo: Ravens vs. Jaguars live from London Sept. 24]
How long does it take to amass 10,000 snaps in the NFL? Consider that when Thomas began playing for Cleveland in 2007:
• The NFL’s top players included Peyton Manning, LaDainian Tomlinson, Michael Vick, and Terrell Owens.
• Tim Tebow was playing his Heisman-winning season at Florida, and Jameis Winston was just entering eighth grade.
• LeBron James was only a few weeks removed from his first NBA Finals; he hadn’t yet left Cleveland, returned, or (possibly) left again, but not before congratulating Thomas.
• George W. Bush was president.
• The age of the movie superheroes hadn’t even begun, since the first “Iron Man” hadn’t been released yet.
• No one had any idea who Justin Bieber was.
Ah, simpler times. Congrats to Thomas on an amazing, and unlikely-to-be-duplicated, achievement.
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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.
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