CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas just keeps adding awards and honors to his trophy case.
One week after being named to his 10th straight Pro Bowl, Thomas was honored as the Player of the Year by the Cleveland chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America, the team announced Wednesday.
“It is very humbling,” Thomas said. “On a better season, you hope that one of the skilled guys gets voted in because that means that you have scored a lot of points. Under the circumstances, I still feel very proud to be honored in that manner.
“For a lineman, you never look for praise. When you it get, it is often unexpected, but it often feels better than expected, as well.”
Browns coach Hue Jackson felt Thomas’ latest honor was well deserved.
“Joe is probably my player of the year, too, for what he has done for our football team and organization, for being out there playing,” Jackson said. “I can’t say enough about a guy that does not miss a football snap. That is dependability at its best.”
Whether good or bad, Thomas has had plenty of emotional moments since joining the team through the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. And Thomas had another emotional moment when the Browns earned a 20-17 win over the San Diego Chargers at FirstEnergy Stadium for their first win since last December.
Prior to the win over the Chargers, the Browns lost 17 straight games dating back to last year and 14 consecutive to start the season, both of which were franchise records for futility.
Just as he did throughout the last several weeks when it came to answering questions about what was holding the team together despite the constant struggles, Jackson credited the veteran leadership in the locker room.
“I think there is a lot of pride in this locker room,” Thomas said. “There are a lot of guys who have come from college programs who have won a lot of games, so being in this situation that we are in right now is new for a lot of people, myself included to some extent.
“It has been a trying season, but the character of the people that are in the locker room and the respect that we have for Hue and for each other, this team was not going to give up. They were not going to quit or splinter or start making plans for the offseason. I think we all understand how important the end of our season is for this team to get us ready for next year because we have to make a big jump for next year.”