Elite offensive linemen don’t grow in trees, and the Cleveland Browns know a thing or two about that.
They had one of the best to ever do it in Joe Thomas, a force to be reckoned with on and off the field and a guy whose presence is always missed on the gridiron.
Thomas was a standard for great play, work ethic, and even more impressive in this position: Availability.
That’s why, on the verge of his retirement, ESPN’s Jeff Darlington took the liberty of comparing Philadelphia Eagles star center Jason Kelce with Thomas (via Jeff Darlington on Twitter).
Much like Browns legend Joe Thomas, Eagles legend Jason Kelce is so impressive not merely for his level of play — but his availability to play. He hasn’t missed a game since 2014. Unfathomable toughness to match his incredible talent. What a career.
— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) January 16, 2024
Darlington praised the fact that Kelce hadn’t missed a single game since 2014, raving about his “unfathomable toughness.”
Kelce will retire without having a chance to play for his hometown Cleveland Browns, but he can brag about having one of the best careers for a player in his position, perhaps the greatest ever.
It’s a shame that we didn’t get to see him or his brother Travis playing for the team they grew up rooting for, but we still have no choice but to tip our hats to him.
Kelce’s durability was tough to match, just like Thomas’, so he has a valid point with that comparison.
Offensive linemen have to endure a physical burden that not many human beings are able to withstand, let alone during a full 16-17 game season, and then possible playoff games.
That’s why Kelce, just like Thomas before him, can rest assured that he’ll likely be immortalized in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame as soon as he becomes eligible.