No one likes to see any player get injured, especially a class act and leader like Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas.
Thomas, who plays the most physical demanding professional sport on the planet, gets hit on every play and did not miss a game – let alone a snap (10,363) – for 167 straight games over 11 seasons.
Many believe this streak is more impressive than Cal Ripken’s 2,632 consecutive baseball games over a 17-year period. The physical demands on a football player, with all due respect to baseball players, isn’t comparable.
Thomas isn’t applying a tag to a runner at second base, or diving for a baseball, but has a defensive player, who is 250 to 300 pounds and can run a sub-five-second 40, coming at him full speed every play.
This happened over 10,300 times in his streak, and he got up every time for the next snap until last Sunday, when he tore his left tricep trying another block.
This future Hall of Famer has played under the radar throughout his career, snap after snap, protecting the blind side of his quarterbacks. One thing for sure, none of these 20 quarterbacks – Brandon Weeden, Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson, RG III, Johnny Manziel, Seneca Wallace, Colt McCoy, Brady Quinn, Jake Delhomme, Ken Dorsey, Brian Hoyer, Bruce Gradkowski, Thad Lewis, Connor Shaw, Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan, Jason Campbell, Josh McCown, DeShone Kizer, and Austin Davis – are going to Canton, even though three of them were drafted in the first round.
Stat of the week
Chicago rookie defensive back Eddie Jackson became the first player to have two defensive touchdowns of more than 75 yards in one game.
The Browns need to travel 4,000 miles for a home game in London against the Vikings. It’s one thing to travel this distance, and another to get pounded that far away from home by a good Minnesota defence. The Vikings destroy the Browns.
Without star quarterback Andrew Luck and a poor run game, the Colts are lucky to score 14 points a game. They now face a good Bengals’ defence on the road. The Bengals need a win after a tough loss in Pittsburgh. Take Cincy at home.
San Fran is 0-7, has an early start on the East Coast and is playing the best NFC team on paper in the Eagles. Not a chance, take Philly
Don’t mortgage the house picks
Chicago is happy to be 3-4, but they are winning because of defensive scores each week as its offence has not done much with rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky under centre. The Saints, on the other hand, are the hottest team in football having won four games in a row, and now play at home in the Mercedes Benz Dome. New Orleans will play like a Mercedes while the Bears will look like a broken down, rusted out old AMC Pacer.
What’s wrong with the Broncos? After losing at home to the Giants, they went on the road last week and didn’t score a point against a Chargers’ defence that isn’t very good. Now they go into tough Kansas City, which has lost two in a row as well. What gives? The Chiefs are just a better team, and are at home.
The Chargers started the season 0-4, but have won their last three games to get back in the AFC West race. They have an early East Coast game in New England, which seems to have found its defence once again after holding the Falcons to only seven points. The Chargers’ streak ends on the road, take the Pats.
Pittsburgh is playing well, but isn’t the best road team in the NFL and they travel to Detroit to play the rested Lions on Monday night.
Matt Stafford seems to play very well in prime time, so take Detroit in an upset over Pittsburgh.
Last week: 6-for-7.
John Turner is a Summerside schoolteacher and coaches youth football. His column appears every Saturday during the NFL season. Feel free to e-mail questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.