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Joe Thomas jokes of Browns' past, Johnny Manziel during retirement speech

By Alex Butler

March 19 (UPI) -- When you play for the Cleveland Browns for 11 years like Joe Thomas, you deserve a lengthy goodbye speech.

And he had plenty of great sound bites in that farewell dialogue Monday. The speech also included some playful jabs at the AFC North franchise, which posted a 48-128 record during his tenure. Thomas announced his retirement on Wednesday.

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"This offseason, there were a lot of people that reached out to me when they heard I was considering retirement," Thomas told reporters. "They had an opportunity to talk to me and give their input. One of the guys who actually talked to me was [former Browns offensive coordinator] Kyle Shanahan. He put together a 32-point slide presentation in a PowerPoint telling me why I needed to come back; unfortunately, that did not work. [Former Browns general manager] Ray Farmer tried to text me but it was during a game, and unfortunately, he was suspended for that."

"[Former Browns head coach] Eric Mangini wanted to reach out to me because I had a couple years with him and he thought it was important to hear a few things from him, but unfortunately, he said I was going to have to ride eight hours with him on a bus to Connecticut if I wanted to hear all about it so I turned that down. [Former Browns QB] Brandon Weeden still has my phone number, somehow after all these years. He tried to call me but he ended up still being stuck under that giant American flag so he did not get any reception. [Former Browns Executive Vice President of Football Operations] Sashi [Brown] tried to trade some information with me about my retirement, but unfortunately, it did not get in in time. [Former Browns QB] Johnny [Manziel] tried to call me from the club but his money phone apparently did not have very good service. In the end, we all know that the reason I retired was because of [former Browns QB] Robert Griffin III; it was definitely his fault."

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The local Pro Football Writers Association also honored Thomas during the news conference. The PFWA named the Player of the Year award after the former Browns left tackle.

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