Joe Thomas: Not Your Average Joe

The Authorized Biography — From Wisconsin to Cleveland to the Hall of Fame

Marc Bona, Dan Murphy


Meet one of the NFL’s most reliable offensive linemen ever. From youth sports in Wisconsin through Big Ten college football to 11 seasons with the Cleveland Browns, Joe Thomas was a tough competitor on the field and an easygoing, fun-loving guy off it. This in-depth portrait is drawn from interviews with Joe’s family, friends, coaches, teammates—and Joe himself.

Includes 40 color photos.

Forewords by Alex Mack and Bret Bielema.

Softcover / 256 pages / 5.5 x 8.5

ISBN: 9781598511284


Football fans know Joe Thomas as one of the most dependable offensive linemen ever to play in the NFL. But his story goes beyond lining up for a record-setting 10,363 consecutive snaps for the Cleveland Browns …

Growing up near Milwaukee, the young three-sport star valued friendship and preparation in everything he did. Always a bit of a goofball off the field, Joe had an uncanny ability to turn on a competitive switch on the gridiron.

He endured a tragedy and overcame a serious injury to become a big-time college football star for Wisconsin in the fiercely competitive Big Ten. (He was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2019.)

On NFL’s Draft Day in 2007, Joe endeared himself to fans when, despite being forecast as a top pick, he chose to skip the glitzy ceremony and just go fishing with family and friends instead.

With the Browns, he quickly earned his spot on the roster and stayed there—a consistent standout during an 11-season career in which he excelled even while playing for teams that struggled. (He protected 20 different starting quarterbacks—which must be another league record.)

He was a first-ballot selection for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2023.

This book is based on interviews with people who know Joe Thomas best—family, friends, coaches, teammates—as well as with Joe himself. (Some chapters are in Joe’s own words.) It tells, up close and in depth, the story of an exceptional career.

Additional information

Weight.656 lbs
Dimensions11 × 8.5 × .6 in

Table of Contents

Foreword by Bret Bielema
Foreword by Alex Mack

Prologue: Gone Fishin’

Part One: Growing Up
– “This will be a gift”
– On the Court
– In the Circle
– On the Gridiron
– A Wanted Man: Being Recruited

Part Two: On, Wisconsin! (2003-2007)
– “The speed is so much faster” (Freshman Yea)
– “Having a blast” (Sophomore Year)
– All-Conference (Junior Year)
– Down, But Not Out
– Starting with Wins (Senior Year)
– Losing a Friend
– NFL Draft in Sight (Senior Year Continues)
– Getting Drafted

Part Three: The Cleveland Browns Years — In Joe’s Own Words
– Rookie
– The QB Journey
– Mind of a Lineman
– The Best Offensive Line
– One Last Victory
– The Snap Streak

Epilogue: New Beginnings


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