Joe Thomas Comments on Johnny Manziel, Hue Jackson, Browns' Draft Plans

Mike NorrisFeatured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2016

Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas (73) takes a knee during a timeout during an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas spoke openly about the team's future while attending a local home-and-garden show Thursday, per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal.

The nine-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro lineman began by calling quarterback Johnny Manziel's situation "a sad ending," as it appears the troubled player's days in Cleveland are numbered.

Manziel started the Browns' Week 16 game against the Kansas City Chiefs but apparently suffered a concussion toward the end. He did not play the next week and failed to attend concussion-protocol meetings—allegedly heading to Las Vegas instead. Mike Silver of NFL Network claimed the team lied about Manziel having a concussion to cover up the fact that he was drunk while attending practice (although the team denied the allegations).

Ulrich noted that "Thomas said Manziel complained of concussion symptoms Wednesday before [the] season finale and then he was gone."

The 31-year-old then turned his attention to the draft, noting the team will probably take a quarterback in the first round with its No. 2 overall pick, per Ulrich. He noted that presumed No. 1 quarterback Josh McCown is a "tremendous mentor" and the future is "bright" as long as the Browns take the right quarterback.

Former California Golden Bears signal-caller Jared Goff and North Dakota State Bison star Carson Wentz are the highest-rated quarterbacks in the draft, per CBS Sports.

Thomas said he is "all-in" when it comes to the Browns, while new head coach Hue Jackson and executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown told him they want him to be a "big piece" of the team, per Ulrich.

Jackson, who was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2011, will take over a team that won just three games last season. Thomas seemed to be happy with the hire, saying Jackson was his No. 1 choice and a "huge coup," per Ulrich.

Having Thomas on the offensive line is a good starting point for the Browns, and if right tackle Mitchell Schwartz and center Alex Mack return, it would be the strength of a rebuilding Cleveland team.

Per Ulrich, Thomas knows the team may not be able to re-sign both but called them the best at their respective positions.

The Browns are one of the worst teams in the NFL, but many teams would love to have their offensive line. Thomas seems upbeat about the situation, but it remains to be seen whether Cleveland's new management can move the team in a positive direction.

Drafting the right player, as Thomas said, would be a good start.