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Joe Thomas announces retirement after 11-year career

Patrick McDermott / USA TODAY Sports

Joe Thomas is hanging up his cleats.

The career Cleveland Brown announced his retirement Wednesday after 11 seasons as the team's left tackle.

"This was an extremely difficult decision, but the right one for me and my family," Thomas said in a release. "Playing in the NFL has taken a toll on my body and I can no longer physically compete at the level I need to."

The Browns made Thomas the third overall pick of the 2007 draft and he never disappointed, making 10 Pro Bowls and lining up for 10,363 consecutive plays. Both streaks were snapped when he tore his triceps in Week 7 of the 2017 season. That play will be his last.

The number 10,363 will be enshrined in the Browns' Ring of Honor during the 2018 season.

Thomas was named a first-team All-Pro six times. It's not difficult to see why:

Unfortunately, his individual success didn't translate to team success. The Browns' best season during his career was a 10-win campaign in his first year. He had to endure three five-win seasons, three four-win seasons, one three-win season, a one-win season in 2016, and a winless season in 2017.

Through it all, he remained the face of the franchise and a fan favorite.

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