OBR Daily Blog 12/29

Congratulations to Joe Thomas making his fourth Pro Bowl.

Browns-Steelers Injury Report, Dec. 29
Don Delco on December 29th, 2010 AT 4:32 PM


Did Not Practice
RB Peyton Hillis, ribs
DL Shaun Rogers, ankle/hip
FB Lawrence Vickers, illness
OL Floyd Womack, knee

Limited Participation in Practice
LB Eric Alexander, groin
LB Marcus Benard, shoulder
DB Sheldon Brown, shoulder
DL Kenyon Coleman, knee
TE Robert Royal, shoulder
OL John St. Clair, ankle
TE Ben Watson, ankle

Full Participation in Practice
LB Matt Roth, thumb


Did Not Practice
LB James Harrison, illness
RB Mewelde Moore, knee
S Troy Polamalu, ankle
DE Aaron Smith, triceps
LB Jason Worilids, knee

Limited Participation in Practice
LB LaMarr Woodley, knee

McCoy, Thomas Quotes, Dec. 29
Don Delco on December 29th, 2010 AT 4:29 PM

QB Colt McCoy

(On the biggest lesson he's learned since his first start against Pittsburgh that he can use this week)- “I don't know. Pittsburgh is obviously Pittsburgh, our coaches call them ‘Blitzburgh.' They're really good at what they do. They're veterans, they're crafty and I think they're a defense who creates turnovers and finds ways to win. I think the number one thing for us this week is to handle what they do up front and protect the football. I think if we do those two things, we give ourselves a chance."

(On if this game will be a measure of how he has improved since his first start)- "I wouldn't look at it like that. I think every practice is a measure of how I can get better and how I can improve. I think the good thing about this team, this locker room, is that that's how we all approach it. We all approach it is, ‘Okay, let's all get better today. Let's go work on the things we need to work on, let's improve.' We still have got a chance to go out and win our last home game and that's enough motivation for all of us in here. It's nice to be able to play a team for a second time. Hopefully I'll be able to improve, hopefully I'll work on things, but at the same time they have got a lot to play for too. It will be a tough fought game for 60 minutes."

(On what he learned about Ed Reed that could possibly help him in dealing with Troy Polamalu this Sunday)- “They play a little bit different spots, but they play the same way. They're risky, they strive to make plays and that's what has made them who they are. They're the best safeties in the league. I'll have to be better, more sharp looking off, finding the open guy without them being around. It's tough. I told you last week when we were going in there that I've got to be alert for Ed Reed, I've got to know where he's at and he can't make plays and he made two on us. For me as a rookie quarterback, I have to eliminate those mistakes. I have to take those away and if you take those away and you look at the game, it's like, ‘Wow, we stayed on the field, we converted on third downs, we made a couple of bad decisions and it cost us.' I understand that fully. I'm the quarterback, I've got to eliminate those things and this week is no different going up against Troy and their defense. I think they have a great linebacker corps. I think those guys play so well together, they know their blitzes, they know their gaps. They come in and out and their scheme is based around them and what they do. We are going to have to handle that. Like is aid, a lot of guys are confident in this locker room. A lot of guys are going out to practice working and competing. We are going to finish strong and finish the right way."

(On if he goes into Sunday's game knowing they are going to have to throw the ball because of how tough Pittsburgh's run defense is)- “We all know they are the number one rush defense in the league and they're pretty much top 10 in all of the categories. Baltimore and Pittsburgh are the best defenses that we face all year and they're in our division. We've accepted that. We have got to go out there and play, that's no excuse for us not to go out there and run the ball effectively and throw the ball effectively. We have got to work hard, prepare and we have got to establish the running game. That is core for us. When we do that and you look at the success rate that we've had, it's been pretty good. That's part of it, but we have all got to play together collectively and play hard and stay on the field and give ourselves a chance."

(On if Pittsburgh having so many sacks is a function of them being so tough on first and second down in their rush defense)- "Probably part of it, keeping people in third and long. When you get in a third and long situation, there are so many calls that they can use. They can drop guys back and rush three guys or they can bring everybody, go man to man and tackle you before you get to the sticks. It's a function of a lot of things. I think for us this week, it's staying ahead of the chains and keeping positive plays every time. Don't take any negative plays, eliminate the negative plays. I think that's a start for sure."

(On if it is too easy to say they should pass on first down to counter their tough rush defense)- “Their just a great defense, they're very well coached. They have got an offense that can score points. They pin their ears back and come after you. That's what they do, that's what they've been doing and that's what they did against us. I watched the tape when we played earlier in the season, I watched myself and thought, "Man, I've come a long ways from that. I'm playing a lot better.' There are still a lot of things that I can improve on and work on. I just look forward to the opportunity to get out there again, get this sour taste out of my mouth, take care of the football and lead the team."

(On if there is anything he and Mohamed Massaquoi can do to get on the same page better)- “I think there are a lot of things. Getting him the ball early, getting them a few catches early to get their confidence up. I think from there, we can stem a lot of thing s out of there. At the same time, we need to establish something early in the run game. It's just the fact that you're going up against the toughest defense in the league. You're going to have to go into that game and ultimately do what they tell you to do. If they tell us we need to pass, then let's spread it out, let's pass, let's get some first downs and let's move the ball. It just depends on how they want to play it. Looking from last time we played them until now, I don't expect it to be that much different. They are going to come after us, they're going to pressure us and make us go the long way to score."

(On it potentially being Phil Dawson's last game with the Browns and how impressive his 12 year tenure is with the team)- "It's impressive. Speaking for probably the rest of the locker room, we don't want to see Phil leave. We don't want to see this as his last game. We have got a lot of great things going here and he knows what's changed and what's happening. I know he wants to be a part of it and I hope he can be. He's been a tremendous kicker and to be able to kick in these conditions, I've only played in one kind of sorry weather game, for him to be able to do that for 12 years speaks volume about him, the kind of guys he is and the kind of kicker he is."

(On if last week's game looked any better or worse on film)- “It's never as bad as you think and it's never as good as you think. Yes, there were lots of lessons to be learned from that game, but there were lots of good things that got overshadowed too. One of our goals going into the game was to stay on the field on third down, and we converted 70 percent of our third down. There's good and bad. I made a lot of great reads, great throws in the game in the weather. But you narrow it down to two or three throws and that ultimately lost the game for us. That's something, as a quarterback, I understand. You look at all of the guys that have played against Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu, they've all had those kinds of games. At the same time, I'll never accept that. I'll accept the fact that if you turn the ball over three times, you don't give your team a chance to win. Those are things that I've got to improve, I've got to learn from and what a great opportunity to go out and play against the number one defense in the league this week."

(On what he has been doing better since his first start)- “I don't know, I hate talking about myself. I think for team-wise, we are playing well together. I think the offensive line is doing a great job blocking. I know we haven't ran the ball as much as we'd like, but we didn't give up a sack against Baltimore. That's a tribute to them, to the offensive line. They played great and I expect them to play great again this week. We are doing a lot of good things, we have just got to improve, we have just got to get better and we have got one more chance to do that."

(On his passes being knocked down in the windy weather last week when they had a high trajectory and if that is something he can learn from)- "I think so. I think I had one ball that I felt like I threw it good and it kind of died off, tailed off at the end where it normally wouldn't do that. I think probably the biggest difference is the balls themselves. I wouldn't actually say the weather, I'd say the balls are actually hard and heavy. When you want to throw a deep ball, you have really got to put some velocity on it and throw it. I learned that as the game went on. I threw some great balls further down the stretch, I felt like. It's something that you have got to learn. You're definitely able to deal with it, able to handle it, able to cope with it, so I would say it's not a huge difference understanding the wind and the way it rolls around that stadium. You have just got to play. It's like my dad says, ‘Who cares? You have just got to go play, you have got to go do it.'"

OL Joe Thomas

(On how it felt to make the Pro Bowl again this year)- “It's a great feeling every year. It's really exciting for me. I'm just really excited that I get to go to Hawaii and represent the Browns again."

(On being up for the Walter Peyton Man of the Year Award)- "It means a lot to me because I've tried to become really active in the community. I try to do everything I can to try to give back, make Cleveland my home and get involved in various different ways. To get a little bit of respect for that award is pretty cool and I'm hoping to continue that and even grow on that."

(On being named the PFWA "Good Guy")- “Yes, that was great. Thank you. I guess the media votes on that, so that's another good one. I just heard about that today."

(On if he was disappointed that he was the only player on the team to make the Pro Bowl)- “I felt a little disappointed especially for the guys on the line, my line mates. Certainly being named to the Pro Bowl wouldn't have happened without those guys. I thought Eric Steinbach and Alex Mack, those guys definitely, in my opinion, did enough. We don't get to vote for our own guys unfortunately. I think there were a number of other guys if you look at Lawrence Vickers and Ben Watson and those guys. A lot of times in the Pro Bowl, it comes down to you have got to win more games if you want to put more guys in the Pro Bowl. That's going to be the goal for next year."

(On if James Harrison has switched his style of play up, having not been fined in recent weeks)- "I'm not sure. I don't think so. I think he's gone out there and he's still trying to hit people the same way he has been, but maybe he's just trying to lower his target and not hit guys in the head quite as much. It has seemed to have worked for him. The NFL sent him a message and it seems like he got it."

(On players wanting to go harder against him to beat him because he is a Pro Bowl caliber player)- “I think you have got to bring you're ‘A' game every single week because you have got a target on your back from the first time you go. It gets even bigger the more times you go to the Pro Bowl because they want to make a name for themselves, they want to beat a guy that's been to the Pro Bowl so they can put that on their resume."

(On how much more command Colt McCoy has of the offense since he made his first start against the Steelers)- “I think we are more comfortable with him and he's really more comfortable with the offense. Being thrown in there the first time, he did a great job. He's a natural leader, so there was never any issue there. He has even grown with us and I think he understands things offensively. He's really a guy that we are going to look up to when they come in here this Sunday."

(On McCoy being the first quarterback to face a division opponent twice in the same season in a while)- "Yes, I just heard that this morning. That was kind of a surprising statistic, but with the number of guys we've had behind the line, it's not that surprising."

Mangini Press Conference Transcript, Dec. 29
Don Delco on December 29th, 2010 AT 2:52 PM

(Opening statement)- "Good morning everybody. Today it looks like Peyton (Hillis) will miss and Floyd (Womack) will miss and should be full go with everybody else. In terms of our prep today, we started the work obviously on first down on the Steelers. There are a lot of similarities in what we faced last week with what we face this week in terms of another really impressive defense. They're in the top 10 in I think 19 different defensive categories and they're able to generate pressure whether it's three man, four man or any of their multiple blitz looks. All their linebackers do a nice job of pressuring the quarterback and they bring them in so much different combinations and variations that it's really important that we can come out ID the front, anticipate what we can get and then be able to block it up. That's true both in the passing game and in the running game and I thought Colt (McCoy) did a nice job with that the last time we played them. It's going to be important again here today. Offensively, just like last week this is another strong armed quarterback, another guy who can hurt you in a lot of different ways. He can make any of the different throws and where Ben's (Roethlisberger) really impressive is the plays where he's able to extend the plays and it happens every single game where it looks like you've got him and because of his strength, because of his mobility he gets out of trouble. The receivers are so in tune with him in terms of reading out and finding an open place especially a guy like Hines (Ward) that they're able to generate a significant amount of big plays off of those things. They've been running the ball effectively, they've been running the ball consistently and a guy like Mike Wallace is a homerun waiting to happen on any play. On special teams, it's a tough, physical group that plays sound both in the coverage game and the return game and we're going to have to be able to match that and create some opportunities enough so we do a good job of containing their returners. They have a range of guys whether it's (Emmanuel) Sanders, (Antonio) Brown, (Antwaan) Randle El, a range of guys that have returned for them this season."

(On if Hillis is missing because of his knee or ribs)- "It's the ribs."

(On on if he thinks Hillis will be ready for Sunday)- "I do. We'll see, get him some rest here today and just see where he is, see where he is tomorrow."

(On if there is an advantage for Colt McCoy or the Steelers since they have already played each other once this year)- "I think it cuts both ways. This will be I think the first time in the two years where we've actually had a quarterback face the same division opponent two consecutive games so it does help because he does have familiarity with their scheme, he's played against it, he's seen the speed with which they bring their pressures. It is a different speed. Some teams will pressure and they come hard but the Steelers do a nice job of timing it up and they also do a good job with disguising it so you really have to be in tuned with what you're looking for to make sure that you can communicate it out to the group and get into the right checks. I thought he did a great job especially considering it was his first time and having that experience will help him, but on the flip side it's also their second time of working against him and they have the tape of us and him against that defense and the things he did well, things he did poorly. There's some upside to that too.”

(On if it said anything about McCoy when he stood in the pocket with James Harrison hitting him on throw to Evan Moore during the first game)- "It was a great throw. It was a really outstanding catch as well. He had a couple of those throughout the course of the game and it's not easy to do. Standing in there and get it off the way that he did so I thought that that showed a lot."

(On cornerback Charles Woodson and safety Troy Polamalu and if the cornerback or safety position is more valuable to a team)- "There's value in both spots. When you got a player like that (Charles Woodson) where you can take him, feel comfortable putting him against the opponents best receiver that allows you to do some things where you can shift the coverage to the other guy or combinations of double team or blitzes. There are things that you can do when you have the ability to handle a huge threat by your opponent with one player. The other part of that is you've got a guy like Polamalu, he affects the running game. He affects the running game dramatically when he's down in the box and he is an outstanding blitzer. He's got really good instincts in the passing game some similarities to Ed Reed in the sense that he instinctually knows where it's going and gets a jump on a lot of plays. He's made some amazing plays in the passing game, just amazing interceptions, things like that, break ups and he can affect the whole field as a safety. My perfect world you'd have them both, then you're in good shape."

(On how Polamalu can drive his coach's nuts because he takes chances on his own but they let him go because it works 3/4 of the time)- "I think his hit rate is a little higher than that, higher than 3/4. I remember coaching Rodney Harrison and he was supposed to be over on a tight end and he was way over on the other side of the field and made a big play and I said, ‘What are you doing?' He said, ‘I knew it was going there,' at that point he had made enough of those plays, the amount of times where he was right versus wrong was so significantly skewed in his favor what you don't want to do is coach them out of their instincts. You want to make them so robotic that they're not making plays that they're naturally used to making plays and he makes a ton of them. The other thing he does really well is disguise. He'll come down and it will look like it's post safety defense, eight in the box, no doubt about it, he'll be on the line of scrimmage and then fly to half the field and he's got the speed and the range to do it. It's hard to get a good read on that and then he's down there sometime you think, ‘Okay, he's doing it again,' and he comes off the edge and blows you up. He's impressive. There's another guy, I know we've talked a lot about guys developing, I don't think he started his first year. At the early part of his career, there were some questions as to what kind of player he would be. Over time and with the experience and things like that, he's just outstanding."

(On if James Harrison has changed his style of play recently after all of the fines)- "He's still making a ton of plays, he's still disruptive in the passing game and he's still a big hitter. I don't see there being any kind of drop off in terms of his production or the hits he makes or the pressure he puts on the quarterback."

(On the difficulties of having a different quarterback each time when facing division opponents)- "Like anything else, you'd like continuity as much as you possibly can. Each guy has a different skill set, each guy has strengths and weaknesses and sometimes you can't always get to what you hope to get to because it really doesn't fit that player, it really doesn't make sense for that player. Then you get another guy in and you shift it again, you get another guy in and you shift it again and you have to do that. You have to have the plan that the quarterback can execute well. You have to have a plan that the quarterback believes in and is a partner in because he has to execute those plays and he has to run the offense. Having some continuity and being able to look at, ‘Okay, here's the first game, here's what we did. What did you like? What didn't you like? What were you uncomfortable with? What else do you feel we could've done?' Even talking to the guy about, ‘See now in this coverage they are doing X, Y and Z. They got you on this last time, but here's what to look for.' It resonates because he's experienced it, he's seen it, you’re talking about it together and there are things that you can then build off of."

(On how continuity at the quarterback position and in the passing game would change things for Hillis)- "It changes things for a lot of reasons. Not just for him, but for the whole group to have one guy, one voice, it's like anything else. You're building reps, you're building a base of experience, you're building guys working together and when you do have continuity, you can address things in other areas. You can look at strengths and weaknesses, how they relate to that position and try to do things to reinforce their strengths whether it's through personnel or scheme. It helps. There's a buildup of, you say reps, but it's experience, it's chemistry, there are a range of words that you could use."

(On if it is as simple as a better passing game will take heat off of Hillis)- "The more you can be productive in the passing game and the more threats that you have, the bigger opportunities there are in the running game. One builds off the other. I think Atlanta is a good example of that where they have got the threats in the passing game, they have the threats in the running game and now you have to choose each snap as to what you want to do. Do you want to go stop Michael Turner or do you want to play split safety defense and try to take away the receivers? The nice thing that I think we've had this season with the addition of Ben Watson and the things that he's done in the passing game is that puts a lot of threat in the middle of the field. Now when you can attack all of those different areas and you're balanced and you have the ability to be balanced, that forces them to be balanced and they have to choose each play, ‘What do we want to take away?'"

(On if he has seen a change in the hits to the head since the league has taken a firmer stance in protecting that area)- "I haven't been following the fines for other teams throughout the course of the season, so I don't know what percentage of guys are getting fined this week versus that initial week or whether it has actually dropped or flat lined. Maybe it's just not as public or whatever the word is, so I don't really know what the statistics are from that perspective. You still see a lot of big hits, you still see a lot of aggressive plays. I do think guys are really trying to do it the right way, but I didn't feel like guys weren't trying to do it the right way before. Any time you can emphasize something positive for player safety, it's good, so I hope it has changed over the course of the season. But again, I don't really know what the numbers are or the trends are."

(On the recent awards for Joe Thomas and Peyton Hillis and Thomas making the Pro Bowl and Hillis not)- "I think it's great that Joe has this opportunity and it think it's great too that this week, he gets to play against another Pro Bowler. We get a nice preview of that, ours against theirs and see what happens. His consistency, in terms of performance and playing that position, that's not easy to do. With D'Brickashaw (Ferguson) getting it in New York, that took a lot of time where Joe got it in his first year, that's really hard to do as a young guy to come in and play left tackle and play it at the level that he's played it at. It's tough. With Peyton, he's had an outstanding season in so many different ways with running the ball, catching the ball, the threat that he's added to the offense, the amount of touchdowns and all of that, and also the guy. You guys have talked to him enough times, you know what kind of person he is. He's going to be a productive player here for a long time with a chance to be really an outstanding player. He's also going to be a tremendous part of the community whether it's charity work, he's just what you look for. I'm really happy that he's here."

(On if he was disappointed that there was only one Pro Bowl selection on the team)- "We had a lot of guys that are alternates, whether they're second or third alternates or whatever the category was. The individual awards are always nice and you're always happy for the guys that get them, but the one thing that I found with guys who have gotten those awards in the past and the most impressive thing is how much they acknowledge the contributions of their teammates who allowed them to do those things. It's a big deal to them, they're proud of it, but yet the team goals are something that are much more important to them. I think all of the guys that receive recognition, whether it was Joe who made it or the guys that were alternates, would all agree how important their teammates have been to them and how important it is for us to continue to improve as a team, which is what I really respect about them."

(On if Hillis has worn down through the course of the season)- "I think during the course of the season, everybody gets tired and everybody gets dinged up. Really the injury that he had Sunday wasn't a function of fatigue. It happened early in the game and it was a hit. I don't think that anything to do with him being worn down. It happens too sometimes Jeff (Schudel) where you get hit the wrong way and it's just kind of the virtue of the position. He's going to get hit quite a bit. He's in tremendous shape, he takes care of his body really well and he relishes this role, but during the course of the season there is going to be wear and tear on all of the guys. I think they all feel it."

(On if there is some type of protective jacket that Hillis could wear to protect his ribs)- "I'll have to talk to Joe (Sheehan) and Brad (Melland) about it. They're obviously looking into it, they have the different things for quarterbacks like the rib protectors and things like that. Maybe it will be a combination or a little bit of innovativeness, we'll have to see."

(On why Floyd Womack is missing practice)- "Knee, that's a little bit more of the same, giving him some time here at the early part of the week as opposed to there really being something that got injured during the course of the game."

(On what improvements he expects to see from McCoy since his first game)- "I thought he did a lot of good things in that first game. I think the main thing for him would be protecting the football, we had the two interceptions. What I liked a lot about last game is the amount of completions that we had in that game I think far outpaced the amount of completions we had in the previous two games against them the year before and that's a big part of what you have to do. You have to be able to move the ball. They're not always going to be deep but he did hit the deep pass to Evan (Moore) late in the game and he hit the out pass to Evan early in the game, he hit Ben Watson on a deeper ball, he hit Chansi (Stuckey) on a deeper ball so it was a nice combination of the catch of run type stuff and some plays down the field."

(On if he feels comfortable with the wide receivers he has now or if he is going to have to add some guys)- "In the offseason you go through all the different scenarios, options. What I do like is, Brian's (Robiskie) continued to improve as a receiver which is a real positive. Chansi's (Stuckey) improved in terms of his level of production. We added a ton of production with Ben (Watson) which I think has really helped us. We lost Evan (Moore) however many games ago but he's another guy that had been productive throughout the season. If you can add players who give you more opportunities, make you more explosive, you want to get as many of those guys as you can in the passing game, in the running game. I think Ben is a great example of that, Ben and Peyton are two guys that have significantly helped the offense."

(On if he can live with some of the interceptions from a rookie quarterback)- "No, because he doesn't want that either. He gets the importance of turnovers and whether it was last week against Baltimore. The numbers are the numbers, they're 75-3 when they're plus one, the odds of winning games like that they're not very good and that's over time. It's a consistent deal so what kind of chance are you taking? Or are you taking a chance for the home run or are you taking the chance at 15-20 yards. Whatever it is it's got to be balanced. You want him to not play scared or to not play tentative but to just know, what are the odds here? What are the percentages here? He's good like that, he's smart like that, it's important to him and he gets how it all plays in. With Colt, he's harder on himself than any of us could be."

(On how hard it is to construct a game plan against Pittsburgh offensively)- "We've had success against them a lot of different ways in the past. Some of it's scheme. Josh (Cribbs) has done a good job against them in the past with some of the Wildcat stuff. There are different things there but at some point you've got to be able to run the ball and you got to be able to do it effectively and there were points last game where we did that. Now being able to do it consistently that's the important thing and that's the challenging thing. They do a great job of controlling the football offensively which keeps the defense off the field and coming out and playing well defensively so the time of possession skews in their favor."

2:33 PM

Berea Report: Tomlin impressed with McCoy: Mike Tomlin impressed with how McCoy handled himself in first meeting… http://bit.ly/i5EVFO

10:45 AM

Hillis expected to play sunday.

10:44 AM

Expects hillis to play sunday.

10:40 AM

Hillis royal will miss wed practice.

10:40 AM

Hillis royal will miss wed practice.

Hillis, Thomas earn PFWA awards
Don Delco on December 29th, 2010 AT 10:14 AM

The local chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) selected it’s Player of the Year and PFWA Dino Lucarelli “Good Guy Award” winner, which is given annually to a plyaer for his cooperation with the media and for the play the player carries himself with he and his teammates.

Hillis was a unanimous selection for the Player of the Year and Thomas was earned the “Good Guy Award.”

Hillis earned his Player of the Year award by setting career-highs with 1,164 rushing yards, 11 rushing touchdowns, 60 receptions, 474 receiving yards and 13 total touchdowns. He joined Hall of Famers Jim Brown and Leroy Kelly as the only Browns to record 11 or more rushing touchdowns in a single-season. Hillis ranks among the NFL leaders this season in points scored (78-tied for third), total touchdowns (tied for third), rushing touchdowns (tied for third), first downs (81-fifth), yards from scrimmage (1,638-seventh) and rushing yards (10th).

Cleveland Browns PFWA Player of the Year Winners:

2001 LB Jamir Miller

2002 RB William Green

2003 LB Andra Davis

2004 SS Robert Griffith

2005 RB Reuben Droughns

2006 LB Kamerion Wimbley

2007 QB Derek Anderson

2008 DL Shaun Rogers

2009 WR Joshua Cribbs

2010 RB Peyton Hillis

Cleveland Browns PFWA Dino Lucarelli ‘Good Guy Award' Winners:

2001 QB Tim Couch

2002 DB Corey Fuller

2003 OL Shaun O'Hara

2004 DB Daylon McCutcheon

2005 OL Jeff Faine

2006 DB Brian Russell

2007 K Phil Dawson

2008 DB Brandon McDonald

2009 LB David Bowens

2010 OL Joe Thomas

Thomas nominated for NFL’s Man of the Year
Don Delco on December 29th, 2010 AT 10:11 AM

A day after Joe Thomas was selected to start his fourth Pro Bowl, the Browns left tackle was selected as the Cleveland Browns’ 2010 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee. The honor recognizes a player’s off the field community service activities as well as his playing excellency.

Last season, Browns wide receiver and Hilliard, Ohio native Mike Furrey was among the three finalists.

The three finalists will be announced at a later date, and all three will be present at Super Bowl XLV in Dallas on Feb. 6.

According to the Browns, Thomas was nominated after a lenghty 2010. Below is from a team release.

“He traveled more than 14,000 miles round trip to spend a week visiting troops in Afghanistan through the NFL/USO Tour. Upon return, Thomas supported a national USO campaign to raise additional funds in support of our troops, lending his name to the nationwide effort. He also attended the Pros vs. GI Joes event at Cleveland Browns Stadium where he met troops and their families both in person and via live remote to six locations overseas. For Veteran's Day, he supported Our Sacrifice, a grassroots effort to create awareness for those serving our country.

While Thomas' purest passion is directed to supporting the men and women who defend our country, he is committed to supporting others on several levels. For three consecutive years, he has been the Honorary Co-Chair of the Taste of the Browns fundraiser for the Cleveland Foodbank to help combat hunger issues, while annually funding Thanksgiving meals for families during the holidays. Thomas has been the team's United Way spokesman the past two years and continuously supports the annual Hometown Huddle project which installs a Fitness Zone at a local United Way Agency. Thomas has also been at local school events interacting with kids encouraging them to make healthy lifestyle decisions as part of the Browns Play 60 program. Thomas created his ‘Blue Collar Corner' game day ticket program in 2009 to help local tradesmen who had fallen on difficult times and provided tickets, food and shirts for the families to enjoy a day out to a game. In 2010, he continued that game day program and added another, ‘Thomas' Troops' where works with the local USO to host men and women who serve our country every home game.

Thomas and his wife, Annie, are also committed to the local Animal Protective League and visited the St. Bartholomew (Middleburg Heights, Ohio) School to applaud the efforts of young students as they raised funds in support of the cause. During the holidays they participated in the Browns Adopt-A-Family program through The Littlest Heroes, an organization that works with kids diagnosed with cancer and their families. Thomas also joined teammates for an annual shopping event for kids during the holidays.

On the field, Thomas has been selected to the Pro Bowl in all four of his NFL seasons. He has not missed an offensive snap since joining the Browns as the third overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft. He has been selected by his teammates as a co-captain on offense in each of the past two seasons. Thomas has opened all 15 contests this season at left tackle and has helped pave the way for five individual 100-yard rushing performances and a running game that has averaged 4.0 yards per attempt.”

Here are the past Cleveland Browns’ Man of the Year nominees:

1999 OG Jim Pyne

2000 LB Jamir Miller

2001 LB Wali Rainer

2002 RB Jamel White

2003 QB Kelly Holcomb

2004 DE Kenard Lang

2005 QB Trent Dilfer

2006 QB Charlie Frye

2007 WR Braylon Edwards

2008 K Phil Dawso

2009 WR Mike Furrey

2010 OL Joe Thomas

Latest Links from the OBR Newswire
OBR Newswire on December 29th, 2010 AT 9:00 AM

These are links from the OBR Newswire for December 29th from 08:31 to 08:33:

Latest Links from the OBR Newswire
OBR Newswire on December 29th, 2010 AT 9:00 AM

These are links from the OBR Newswire for December 29th from 08:31 to 08:33:

8:56 AM

TSX: Browns’ Week 16 Grades: Browns’ third straight loss leads to another week of bad grades. http://bit.ly/gKPgKl

9:44 PM

Thomas Named to Fourth Pro Bowl: Left Tackle the Fifth Browns OL to Achieve 4-Time Pro Bowl Status http://bit.ly/hAzJnx

9:36 PM

(Subscriber) Xs & Os: Browns Find a New Option: Doug Farrar details apart the Browns brief shining moment on Sun… http://bit.ly/hF61X0

The OBR Top Stories