BALTIMORE -- Joe Thomas' 10,000th consecutive play was like most of his first 9,999: workmanlike and productive. The Cleveland Browns' left tackle had a nice influence block on a run play to help Isaiah Crowell gain 9 yards with just less than 10 minutes left in the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
"I think as linemen, we're happy to not be the center of attention," Thomas said. "Our careers are usually, when you're the center of attention, in the spotlight, it's usually a bad thing. So it's been a difficult week having that spotlight on me, and I'm happy to move beyond that and hopefully sneak into the shadows for the rest of the season."
Thomas has not missed a snap since he was drafted third overall in 2007. His 10,000th play drew praised from another icon in the Cleveland pro sports world:
Unbelievable @joethomas73!! 10k consecutive snaps played! Playing in the trenches too! Crazy man! Congrats big fella!!— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 17, 2017
"Certainly it's very humbling when you see people who are sort of idols of yours, a guy like LeBron, just mentioning my name and mentioning it with a tweet," Thomas said. "That's really special. I don't think it will sink in during my career, but when it's all said and done, this is definitely something that I think I'll be able to be very proud of and be able to put my hat on and have that as a big accomplishment."
The Browns ended up losing 24-10 to the Ravens.
Though no official records are kept on snap counts, the Browns believe this streak is unprecedented in NFL history. Thomas said last week he only came close to leaving a game once -- when he heard a pop and sprained a knee ligament against Pittsburgh in 2012.
But Thomas played through the discomfort, and because the injury happened in the season finale, it did not affect him in the next game.
The Browns produced a video with Thomas' teammates, past and present, congratulating him.
Thomas was happy the entire moment happened on the road.
"Honestly, I just tried to ignore it as much as I could," he said. "Having it in Cleveland I think would have been cool probably for the fans, but I really am happy to just act like it wasn't even there. For me, it would've been difficult. I have a hard time being in the spotlight when the attention is on me like that. It would have been difficult for me to have the whole stadium acknowledge and recognize me like that. It's not my personality to do a good job of handling being in the spotlight like that."