Bogus Deal; Thomas Not Named Pro Bowl Starter

Cleveland Browns rookie left tackle Joe Thomas has been as dominant as any left tackle in the AFC this season. On Tuesday, Thomas was named a alternate for the Pro Bowl which does this standout lineman no justice.

If you are a fan of the Cleveland Browns, you must have been shaking your head in amazement when the Pro Bowl selections were announced.

Wide receiver Braylon Edwards and kick returner Joshua Cribbs were named to the Pro Bowl squad, which was selected by votes from fans, coaches and players.

It was one player who wasn't named which shocked many when the announcement was made.

Where was Joe Thomas?

Those named to the Pro Bowl are theoretically the best players at the position this season.

This season. Not last season, not five years ago.

While players in all sports find their way onto all-star rosters due to lifetime achievement, name recognition and popularity, it is tough to swallow when players are omitted for those who did not produce at a high level during the latest season.

When looking over the AFC Pro Bowl roster, I cannot help but question the thought process which led to some of the selections. With an objective eye, how does Cleveland Browns rookie left tackle Joe Thomas - who has been dominant throughout the season - not gain selection, while Matt Light of New England and Jonathan Ogden of Baltimore find their way onto the Pro Bowl roster?

Respect? Absolutely. Recognition? Certainly. Production and reliability? Definitely not.

Name one offensive left tackle in the AFC that has surrendered fewer sacks than Thomas. You'll be hard-pressed to find one. In this conference, Thomas and Jason Peters of the Buffalo Bills are the best playing the position in 2007.

Thomas has been a standout in his rookie season. His future is bright: Thomas is a bookend tackle which a team can build upon and not worry about for the next decade. In helping to revitalize a stagnant Cleveland offense, Thomas has been a model of consistency and precision throughout the season for the 9-5 Browns. Without Thomas, the Cleveland offense would not be nearly as proficient as it is today. Much of the same should be said in the resurgence of the ground game and Jamal Lewis' career.

While it is understandable that a rookie must earn his stripes, Joe Thomas has clearly demonstrated that he belongs in the top echelon of tackles. There is no doubt of his standing in the Cleveland Browns locker room.

Thomas will get his chance to display his talent on every Sunday during the season for the next decade. The Browns rookie will at some point gain the respect and recognition to be named the starter for the AFC.

Until then, the rookie is a first alternate and probably will find his way to Hawaii to play in this exhibition game. Many of these so-called stars and ambassadors of the game find a way to mock the award by begging off.

Then again, one couldn't blame Joe Thomas if he would rather go fishing.


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