Browns legend Joe Thomas was one of nine football players and coaches who received the symbol of their enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame at Friday's Gold Jacket Dinner.
The Gold Jacket Dinner, hosted at the Canton Memorial Civic Center, is a highly emotional event for new class members as they receive their Gold Jacket. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, this moment is often the most meaningful for recipients.
Fittingly, the most memorable moment of the occasion was undoubtedly when Thomas was announced and proceeded to make his way down the passage of 106 Pro Football Hall of Famers. The crowd's enthusiasm was palpable, with Browns supporters being particularly vocal whenever Thomas was in view.
Check out photos of Joe Thomas at the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Gold Jacket Dinner, where Thomas received his Gold Jacket and was greeted by over 100 other Hall of Famers
"We been waiting on this for a while now," said Rich Eisen, who emceed the event. "This day has been coming since he was drafted out of Wisconsin. 11 years with the Cleveland Browns. Playing over 10,000 consecutive snaps and earning six All-Pro honors. It's time to put Joe Thomas in the Hall of Fame!"
The Pro Football Hall of Fame made a new addition this year. Inductees were allowed to select a former player they admired to present them with the coveted Gold Jacket. Thomas chose Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis to give him the Gold Jacket.
When Bettis helped Thomas put on the Gold Jacket, his four children ran onto the stage and embraced him in a heartfelt hug. Overcome with joy, Thomas began to cry.
The Enshrinement Ceremony for the Class of 2023 is scheduled for Saturday at noon at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.