BEREA, Ohio--Joe Thomas rarely shows or airs his frustrations.
But the perennial Pro Bowl left tackle has earned the chance to voice his opinion and he did so on Wednesday when asked about former Browns defensive end Jabaal Sheard, who is the Patriots' starting right end.
“Jabaal’s playing great,” Thomas said. “From the first game that he got to New England he’s played exceptionally well. I think he’s got (three) sacks, he’s a force in the run game and I’m sure New England’s very happy that they got him.”
Sheard will likely square off with Thomas on the field Sunday for a good portion of the day. The Browns allowed the former second-round draft choice to leave via free agency after the 2014 season after leading the Browns in sacks from 2011-13.
Thomas makes a valid point when asked why would the Browns let a player of Sheard's caliber leave.
"Any time a new staff comes in basically they wipe out the middle class,” Thomas said.
Sheard has become one of the top defensive players and leads the Patriots with 11 tackles, three sacks and two passes defensed.
Thomas said one of he by products of changing regimes as often as the Browns have in recent years is the loss of quality, young players.
“Certainly that’s one of the frustrations that I’ve had over the years and that’s the problem when you constantly are hitting the reset button is guys that are really good players like that end up falling through the cracks or going to other teams,” Thomas said. “(The new front offices) keep a couple of your superstars and then they want everyone else being a rookie so that they can try to develop them. And when you keep doing that over and over again, you really lose all your middle class on your team.
“And so guys like Buster Skrine, Jabaal Sheard, D’Qwell Jackson, Jordan Cameron, Travis Benjamin, those are the guys that disappeared," he said. "Even though those were the guys that you drafted them, spent the time developing them and right when they’re hitting stride in the peaks of their career, they end up going somewhere else and having great success for somebody else.”
Some of the other players that Thomas didn't mention were T.J. Ward, Tashaun Gipson and his good friends and fellow offensive linemen Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz.
Thomas has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first nine NFL seasons and is tied with Hall of Famers Jim Brown and Lou Groza for the most Pro Bowl selections in team history.
Thomas said he's been able to stay focused on his tasks, despite the roster upheaval through the years.
"It's always my job to do whatever I can to try to help my team win,'' Thomas said. "I've always kind of been focused on doing my job to the best of my ability, because that's the best thing that I can do to help my team win. That's kind of what you have to focus on when you lose great players like that.''
Gabe's Back: DL Gabe Wright was re-signed to the practice squad and WR Darius Jennings was released.Wright (6-2, 284) is in his second NFL season out of Auburn. Originally selected by Detroit in the fourth round of the 2015 draft, he has appeared in nine career games. Wright spent the first two weeks of this season on the Browns’ practice squad and appeared in the past two games.
Injury Update: DL Carl Nassib (hand), DB Tramon Williams (shoulder) and DB Ibraheim Campbell (hamstring) practiced again Thursday. Those not practicing Thursday were: OL Cameron Erving (chest/lung), QB Robert Griffin III (shoulder), QB Josh McCown (shoulder), OL Austin Reiter (knee), WR Corey Coleman (hand), TE Randall Telfer (ankle) and TE Seth DeValve (knee). Nassib, Williams and Campbell are listed as limited.
Crow Donates Check to Police Foundation: RB Isaiah Crowell fulfilled a promise he made by donating his first game check to the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation reported by Cleveland.com. Crowell promised to make the contribution after visiting Dallas for a fallen police officer after posting a disparaging picture of a police officer getting his throat slashed and drawing widespread criticism and outrage. The game check amounted to about $35,300.
Phil Dawson's Catches Groza: Browns long time kicker Phil Dawson will tie Lou Groza for 268 NFL games this Sunday. Dawson, who plays for the 49ers, posted this tweet on his Twitter account:"Very humbled & appreciative to play in my 268th game this week. The same # of games all time great & Mr Cleveland Brown, Lou the toe Groza"
Bailey Continuance: OL Alvin Bailey had his hearing for his OVI postponed until Nov. 3. It is the second time that Bailey has had a continuance in his court date.