Tuesday, August 01, 2023

From frustrations to tears of joy, Joe Thomas details emotional highs, lows of 2016 season

Joe Thomas, who will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 5, is the subject of a new book by Marc Bona and Dan Murphy based on interviews with Thomas’ family, friends, teammates and Thomas himself. In this excerpt, the fifth of five, Thomas details the emotional lows and highs late in his career.

Marc Bona | Updated: Jul. 28, 2023, 5:30 a.m.

CLEVELAND, Ohio – I don’t think anyone really knew how tough it was actually going to be.


We started 0-14 — the worst start in team history at the time. We had three different starting quarterbacks in each of the first three games, but it wasn’t like we were getting blown out.

We were hosting the San Diego Chargers at home on Christmas Eve, and we finally came together and played a complete team game that resulted in our lone win of the season.

I remember all three phases played a crucial role in the victory. The Pierogi Prince of Parma, Jamie Meder, a kid who grew up a Browns fan and embodied the toughness of the city, blocked a field goal late in the fourth quarter to maintain a 20-17 lead. The Chargers got the ball back and drove down the field and attempted a game-tying field goal as time expired. After the kick sailed wide right, tears sailed down my face.

I didn’t expect it to be emotional, but I think that’s one of the beautiful things about the game of football. Sometimes you’re just overcome with emotion and it’s totally unexpected, but I think it’s a great thing. Football is the ultimate team game. You’re putting aside any personal ambitions for the good of the team and everyone pulled together and we got that first victory.

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