Cleveland Browns: Mitchell Schwartz replaces Joe Thomas as NFL’s Iron Man

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 22: Joe Thomas /

In wake of Cleveland Browns LT Joe Thomas’ snap-streak ending injury, the NFL has a new Iron Man, Mitchell Schwartz.

To wrap the Cleveland Browns latest loss up into a bow, Joe Thomas‘ Iron Man streak came to end.

The 38th snap of Thomas’ 167th career game looked like just another play. Thomas extended his arms to block for Duke Johnson with 5:35 remaining in the third quarter, and then something happened. Thomas grabbled his left elbow, screamed in pain, and then fell to the ground.

Browns’ radio voice Jim Donovan all of a sudden sounded like he was at a funeral, rather than calling an NFL game.

It’s feared Thomas suffered a bicep tear, which would likely sideline him for the remainder of the season.

As the third overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft, Thomas played every snap (10, 363) of his first 166 games.

And just like that. It was over.

So, who becomes the NFL’s new Iron Man?

A name familiar to the Dawg Pound: Mitchell Schwartz.

Yep, the same Mitchell Schwartz the Sashi Brown led free office let leave via free agency.

Schwartz still has a long way to go before he catches Thomas, but the former Browns’ second-round pick is already halfway there, according to The MMQB’s Peter King.

"“Schwartz played four years with Cleveland and now is in his second with the Chiefs, and he has played every regular-season play of a five-and-a-half-year career—87 games, 5,891 snaps. If he can play every play for the next five seasons, Schwartz will be in Thomas’ league.”"

The game of football can be brutal to one’s body, which makes it truly incredible Thomas achieved what he did. Think of all the injury reports you hear on a week-to-week basis, yet there was Thomas, in the trenches, answered the bell on 10, 363 straight snaps.

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With that said, give Schwartz credit for what he’s accomplished. He’s closing in on 6,000 consecutive snaps. That’s really no small feat.

He may not possess the Hall of Fame credential of his former teammate, but he’s certainly a good lineman–who of course, Brown decided wasn’t good enough to play on whatever it is the supposed pro football team headquartered in Berea calls itself.

ESPN Cleveland Analyst, Tony Grossi, speculated on what the injury might mean for the rest of Thomas’ career.

Thomas, 32, has been very open with the press about how difficult it is to recover from the normal wear-and-tear injuries of football, and he told the media that he would “reassess” his football future after the season.

Next: Rebuilding should not take this long

It’d be a shame to see Thomas go out this way, which is probably why he won’t retire. Having watched and listened to Joe his entire career, this isn’t how he’d want to end his career.