Ex-Cleveland Browns left tackle (and probable future NFL Hall of Famer) Joe Thomas was recently featured by United States Masters Swimming for losing an incredible 60 pounds since retiring from the NFL two years ago, a feat that he attributes, in large part, to swimming. Restricted by five knee injuries and brutal Wisconsin winters, Thomas decided to pick up swimming as something low impact that he could do year-round.
Can anyone swim a slower lap than me? I’m right at :30…and that’s just down, not down and back. @hawk?? https://t.co/qzUFWogi2v
— Joe Thomas (@joethomas73) September 12, 2019
Thomas was a two-time All-American offensive tackle for the University of Wisconsin before being drafted number three overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 2007 NFL Draft. He was also an NCAA National Championship meet qualifier in shot put for both the indoor and outdoor seasons for the Badgers in 2005. While playing for the Browns, Thomas played an NFL record 10,363 consecutive snaps and made 10 Pro Bowl teams. Always a fierce competitor, he is now looking for challengers in the water. He claims that his top-end speed is 30 seconds for a 25-yard freestyle, but judging by his turn in the video below, he could have a dangerous 50 in him.
In Cleveland, Thomas played with electric punt and kick returner Joshua Cribbs, who lettered in swimming in his time at Dunbar High School in Washington D.C. While Cribbs has the clear speed advantage over Thomas on land, a much-leaner Thomas could be gaining on Cribbs in the water.