BEREA— As did most of the players and coaches in the Browns locker room, Joe Thomas looked to step away from the rigors of football amidst Cleveland’s pseudo bye week.
He took the three days the team had off to enjoy his family and friends and take part in one of his favorite pastimes— hunting.
With the trade deadline in the past and Thomas still with the Browns, it would’ve appeared that he had little to worry about, if only for three days.
When Thomas re-emerged from his getaway, however, he was instantly slammed with text messages and requests regarding a report that had been issued when he was away.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, had a series of tweets that offered more information regarding the nixed trade between the Browns and Broncos that made it appear as though Thomas potentially pushed Cleveland to trade him.
Immediately after the Browns practice on Tuesday, Thomas denied those sentiments.
"I can say in no uncertain terms that I ever asked the Browns for a trade, did I ever talk to them about wanting to be traded or did my representatives ever talk to the Browns about me wanting to be traded,” Thomas said. “The other thing I’m going to be very firm and make no qualms about is that myself was never involved in any contract discussions with the Denver Broncos.”
Though the reports painted him in a poor light after he specifically said that he didn’t want to be dealt, Thomas wasn’t upset with the reports.
Rather, he was miffed a bit about the state of journalism in this day and age.
“People can say anything they want. It's not like the old days in print media when if you wrote an article you needed some legitimate sources telling you some legitimate things,” Thomas said. “The trophy now seems to go to the person who is the most outlandish a lot of times. Sometimes it's true, but a lot of times you can say whatever you want without recourse.”
The reports regarding Thomas’ role in the trade may have been untrue, but the reports of the trade itself were absolutely authentic.
The details of the deal, however, weren’t as dramatic as they seemed on the deadline day.
“I talked to (Mike) Pettine after the trade deadline, he didn’t really give me the specifics,” Thomas said. “(He said,) ’Denver called, we were listening, they offered some good things, but that we felt it wasn't enough.’ Basically, that was kind of the gist of the conversation.”
While the left tackle insisted that he didn’t ask the Browns to search for a trade, the thought was that Thomas might’ve been happy to move to a winning organization, after suffering through terrible season after terrible season in Cleveland.
Thomas understands the thought process behind moving to a winning team, but it’s not something that interests him in the slightest.
“I know a lot of guys really, really would do anything to get out of a losing situation, but that’s not my mentality,” Thomas said. “Many people would say, ‘You don’t have anything to play for the rest of the season,’ but for me, there’s a lot to play for. There’s a lot of guys in this room whose careers depend on how we finish this season. It’s going to be dependent on all of us playing well together.”
In addition to playing for each other, Thomas is thrilled to be playing in the city where it all began for him back in 2007.
He knows that immense challenges lie ahead for the Browns and things might not turn around before he hangs up his cleats for the final time, but for Thomas, the thrill of it all lies in the journey and, for now, that journey continues in Cleveland.
“I’m happy,” Thomas said. “I like that the Browns like me because I like being here and I like my teammates and my coaches. There’s a lot of unfinished business for me here and I’m really happy to continue my career.”
For all of your Browns news and updates from Berea, follow Hayden Grove on Twitter: @H_Grove.