BEREA, Ohio -- While the Cleveland Browns will up the tempo and intensity of training camp practices, coach Hue Jackson has zero issue with a particular veteran taking regular days off.
"I understand it and know exactly what it is," Jackson said during the team's minicamp.
That veteran would be left tackle Joe Thomas, a future Hall of Famer and a guy who has not missed a snap while making the Pro Bowl nine times in his nine-year career. But he practiced every other day in OTAs, and will miss a day a week during the season.
Two or three years ago, Thomas and the team's medical staff came to an understanding. If the team wanted him on Sunday, it would have to give during the week. A left tackle's body can only take so many snaps and hits, and Thomas wants to make sure he's there when it matters.
"I think they pay me to play on Sundays," Thomas said.
Jackson will run a much more up-tempo training camp, which he said will include live hitting. If a coach were ever going to be the gruff, old-style type, he could force Thomas to practice -- or else.
But Jackson is not doing that. He will give Thomas his time off.
"Joe has done a tremendous job here, and Joe would be the first to tell you that there are certain things that he knows that I expect from him, and he’s done them all," Jackson said. "I know in this guy’s nine years -- [he] doesn’t miss much of anything. My job is to make sure that he can get to the game and play as well as he can play, but making sure that he is prepared to play and has done enough work.
"I will feel very comfortable with that."
Thomas' teammates do not begrudge him missing practice. They know what he does on Sunday, and players want guys who "show up on Sunday."
He also has played through issues that might sideline others. In his career, he's had three torn MCLs of varying degrees, and two high ankle sprains, but none sidelined him.
At 31, which Thomas said is an "advanced age" in the NFL, he simply wants "to be smart about it," and his coach is fine with it.
"I know exactly and he knows exactly what it is he needs to do," Jackson said. "I’m very comfortable with our medical staff, our strength and conditioning staff of our conversations about how to get him to where he needs to be so he can play great.”