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Thomas Comments on Future in Cleveland
Saturday, Jan. 23
“Certainly I love the people in Cleveland," Thomas told WKYC (Channel 3), per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal. "It’s my home. I love the city. I love everything about it. So I definitely want to be part of the turnaround."
Thomas, Brown Met Shortly After Regular-Season Finale
Thursday, Jan. 21
After Thomas claimed he wasn't sure if he wanted to return to the Browns after the team's fifth coaching change since 2007, Cleveland's new director of football operations, Sashi Brown, reached out to him in an attempt to re-sign him, according to ESPN.com's Pat McManamon on Thursday.
McManamon also reported that "Brown said he was 'confident' his message was well-received."
Thomas has three years remaining on his seven-year, $80.5 million deal he signed back in 2011, per Spotrac.com. Yet after another terrible season in which the Browns finished 3-13, Thomas spoke with Brian Dulik of the Chronicle-Telegram on Jan. 4: "As you get older, the tomorrows become fewer and far between, and you become more reflective about your football mortality. It may be a situation where I don’t want to be here. I don’t know. There are too many unknowns to really say one way or the other."
Brown, who was hired a day before Thomas' comments, immediately spoke with the eight-time Pro Bowler, who's one of the few bright spots on the team. Per McManamon:
Joe is like us. Very competitive. I think his questions to us were largely focused on how are we going to win. I talked to him about what our plan was, what our strategy was, and assured him that we were going to be doing everything to pursue winning here as an organization. You'd have to ask Joe how satisfied he was with the questions, but listen: He's going to be a big piece of what we do moving forward. Has a tremendous amount of insights that we will glean from.
The Browns have made moves this offseason to try to create a new, more competitive culture. They fired head coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer while hiring former Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson as head coach and Paul DePodesta as chief strategy officer. Cleveland hasn't hired a GM yet.
If the team wants to keep Thomas, Brown will have to continue stressing that there will be some semblance of continuity in the front office. For a team that has switched coaches as often as the Browns have, bringing in different ideologies on a roster that lacks talent spells doom each and every season.
In the 17 years since the franchise rebooted in 1999, Cleveland has spun together just two winning seasons with eight different head coaches.
With that kind of track record, it's easy to see why Thomas might want out of Cleveland.
Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.