Joe Thomas Earns Pro Football HoF Honors

PHOENIX – Former Wisconsin offensive lineman Joe Thomas was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as announced during the NFL Honors on Thursday evening in Phoenix. Thomas, who will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in early August, is the seventh offensive tackle to become a first-ballot hall of famer, and first since Walter Jones (Seattle) in 2014.

Thomas, a Brookfield, Wis., native, was drafted No. 3 overall by the Cleveland Browns in 2007, and went on to set an NFL record by playing 10,363 consecutive snaps and earning 10 consecutive Pro Bowl selections to begin his career. Thomas allowed just 30 sacks over 6,680 pass-block snaps, which equals one sack allowed in .004 percent of total pass plays, according to Pro Football Focus. He earned eight All-Pro selections over his 11-year career with the Browns and was named to the NFL’s 2010s All-Decade Team.

During his collegiate career with the Badgers, Thomas started at left tackle in 2004, 2005 and 2006, earning first-team All-America honors during his junior and senior seasons. In 2006, Thomas was awarded the Outland Trophy, presented to the nation’s best interior lineman, becoming the first Badger to win the award.

With Thomas as a starter, Wisconsin compiled a 31-7 record over three seasons and boasted a pair of 1,000-yard tailbacks behind the Thomas-led offensive front. Thomas became the Badgers’ highest-ever selection in the NFL’s common-draft era, setting the standard for an offensive line unit that has totaled six first-round NFL draft selections since 2000.

In 2017, Thomas was honored as part of Wisconsin Athletics’ ‘Camp Randall 100’, an exclusive list celebrating individuals who shaped the history of Camp Randall Stadium. He was inducted into the UW Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019. Thomas will be the third former Badger to earn a Gold Jacket, joining Elroy ‘Crazylegs’ Hirsch, who was inducted in 1968, and Mike Webster, who was inducted in 1997.