Joe Thomas’ career with the Browns was marked by consistent change.
He picked the constant in his life to present him at the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement Aug. 5 in Canton.
Thomas announced Monday wife Annie and their four kids would do the honors. Alex Mack, a close friend who played center for seven years alongside Thomas on the Browns offensive line, was the runner-up.
“I thought about it, and I said, ‘You know, as much as I love Alex, who’s been an even bigger part of my career and my life from even before I got into the NFL through my time in the NFL, who was that rock that I always came home to?’” Thomas told reporters at the Hall. “It became pretty obvious that I wanted my wife and my kids to be my presenter.”
The kids are Logan, 10, Camryn, 8, Jack, 6, and Reese, 4. Thomas said the three oldest cried from excitement when he told them of their role in the enshrinement.
“My son, (Jack), was bouncing up down on the bed, just like he did when Walter Jones was standing at the door in 10 below zero weather,” Thomas said, referring to Jones delivering the Hall news at the family house in Wisconsin. “It just reaffirmed it in that moment that those are the people that I definitely want to be the ones that are on stage with me when the cape comes off the bust.”
The rules have been changed so presenters can record a video rather than deliver a live speech in front of the big crowd, which helped Thomas make the decision.
Thomas made the Hall in his first year of eligibility as a 10-time Pro Bowl left tackle and eight-time All-Pro, including six times on the first team. He became a Cleveland legend despite no playoff appearances, a lone winning season and playing for six coaches while blocking for 20 starting quarterbacks.
The visit to the Hall was his first since learning of his selection.
“I just took a peek as I was walking this way and saw some of the busts, and kind of closing my eyes and thinking that my face is going to be over there,” Thomas said. “I think (about) the moment that maybe I get to bring my kids by and be like, ‘Hey, guys, you know who that is? I know he might not look just like me anymore, but that’s your dad. Pretty cool, huh?’
“I know it’ll be a 50 percent lukewarm response, but, to me, that’ll be really special. Kids are kids, so they’re not going to give a s***. But thinking that in that moment, that someday hopefully they’ll have kids and they’ll be able to bring their kids back, and whether I’m around or not, they can say, ‘Hey, this is your grandpa.’ That’s one that really sinks in for me.”
The Browns tendered exclusive rights free agents cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. and defensive tackle Ben Stille.
Graham played in seven games last season with six tackles. He was signed off the Bears’ practice squad in Week 2.
Stille, a rookie, was signed off the Dolphins’ practice squad Nov. 16. He quickly earned playing time, appearing in six games with a start for the Browns.
New special teams coordinator/assistant head coach Bubba Ventrone will have an introductory news conference over Zoom on Thursday at 3 p.m.
He was a special teams ace for the Browns from 2009-12 and was hired Feb. 23 to replace Mike Priefer. Ventrone spent the previous five years as special teams coordinator for the Colts.