Joe Thomas was a pro’s pro during his 11-year tenure with the Cleveland Browns.
Even with the team struggling for many of those years, Thomas — a seven-time first-team All-Pro — put in work and did the little things right that put him in the good graces of his coaches, fellow players and fans.
So when second-year tackle Desmond Harrison was released by the Browns on Wednesday for not being a mandatory minicamp due to a missed flight, Thomas had some advice.
“1. Be On Time, 2. Pay Attention, 3. Work Hard,” Thomas wrote on Twitter. “Those three things are universal to successful people in any business, but there’s a reason “Be On Time” is first, because if you can’t do that, none of the other stuff matters.
Harrison was filling the void left behind when Thomas retired. He started the first eight games last season but was replaced by Greg Robinson — the No. 2 overall pick in 2014 of the Rams.
Thomas came out in support of the job Robinson did when he stepped in for Harrison.
“To be able to step in and play as well as he did is not an easy thing,” he told cleveland.com at the Super Bowl last year. “Especially at that position and especially for a guy that’s kind of bounced around the league a little bit and hadn’t found his role and his niche. He did an amazing job and I can’t wait to see what he looks like next year with a full offseason of preparation.”
In his eight games, Harrison was called for holding five times and twice for a false start. According to profootballfocus.com, Harrison was the No. 63 ranked tackle in the NFL.
Harrison bounced around the college ranks before ending up at West Georgia — a Division II program. He started at Contra Costa Community College, where he was named named to the All-American Community College First Team.
He then transferred to Texas, but what not “in the teams plans” after being suspended a total of three times.
Harrison lost his job when former head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley were let go. He was replaced by Greg Robinson — the No. 2 overall pick in 2014 of the Rams.
Kitchens has been high on the new additions to the line, making Harrison disposable.
“I will say this about our offensive line: This may be the best group in this setting, the minicamp, tryout guys, free agent guys – this is the best offensive line I have ever been a part of,” Kitchens told C “I have been in the league 13 years. I have never seen a group collectively this good.” .
The Browns are still trying to figure out the right starting combination, and while there are holes that need to be filled, they have a lot to build on.
According to Pro Football Focus, the Browns interior offensive lineman gave up just 39 pressures last season.
Left guard Joel Bitonio and center J.C. Tretter are back, but the Browns are hoping Austin Corbett can fill a guard spot. Kevin Zeitler, who started at the other guard spot for the Browns, was dealt to the New York Giants in the offseason.