Bitonio played alongside Thomas for four seasons and relished that opportunity.
When asked on Thursday, if he thought Thomas would make it through the final cuts and become an inductee in August, Bitonio did not shy away from making a bold prediction.
What Bitonio Said
Bitonio called Thomas “a lock” to become a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) January 5, 2023
Though he may be a little biased, he talks about Thomas’s longevity and what he did for the city of Cleveland as reasons why he should be getting a gold jacket this fall.
Thomas is among 15 modern-era finalists; the final cut is to five players.
Those five names are put to a vote, and if any of the final five gets 80% of the vote, they are in.
Bitonio Is Following In Thomas’s Footsteps
Joel Bitonio’s excellent play at his position and his longevity makes many think he will be a Hall of Famer when he hangs up his cleats.
Andrew Berry mentioned that very point when he announced that the Browns signed Bitonio to a three-year contract extension in November 2021.
“We are all excited about this extension and hopeful that at the end of his career we will all be looking forward to celebrating Joel’s gold jacket fitting in Canton.”
Bitonio Named Winner Of Joe Thomas Award
Further evidence that Bitonio is following in Thomas’s legendary footsteps came to light on Thursday when Bitonio was named the winner of the Joe Thomas Award as the Browns’ MVP for this season.
— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) January 5, 2023
The award was voted on and decided by the local chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America.
Bitonio also previously was named the 2022 Walter Payton Man of the Year for the Browns; that is an award Thomas won three times, in 2010, 2012, and 2016.
Congratulations to both Joe Thomas and Joel Bitonio!