Joe Thomas didn't get much of an easy transition from college to the NFL.
The first of Thomas' 10,363 consecutive snaps came against Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who hadn't quite yet established himself as one of the game's premier pass rushers. Undrafted out of Kent State, Harrison bounced around the league for a few years before settling into a role he filled with the Steelers from 2004-2012. The 2007 season in which he'd open against the Browns first-round rookie left tackle would be his first that ended with a trip to the Pro Bowl.
"Before we got the scouting report, I honestly didn't know who he was until Coach Romeo Crennel at the time started beating it in our heads all week that James Harrison is coming, he's going to try to run you over, he's a big speed-to-power guy."
Thomas learned soon enough.
Harrison was the first of many opposing pass rushers Thomas would analyze for hours on film leading up to gametime. And he would cause his fair share of problems for the Browns over the years despite some of Thomas' best efforts. Cleveland's claim to fame? Harrison had just 6.5 sacks against the Browns compared to 9.5 against the Bengals and 16 against the Ravens throughout his career, which finally came to a close in 2017.
Thomas analyzes the film and tells a few stories about his matchups with Harrison in this week's episode of "Joe Thomas' Film Room." Give it a watch or listen. Our next episode will air next Tuesday.