Joe Thomas drops hard truth after Steelers release Justin Gilbert
Cleveland Browns veteran Joe Thomas spoke some harsh truths about life in the NFL after the news that Justin Gilbert had been released by Pittsburgh.
To the surprise of almost no one, the Pittsburgh Steelers released former Cleveland Browns cornerback Justin Gilbert on Monday.
The move came on the first day that teams were allowed to release players and just six months after the Browns traded Gilbert to Pittsburgh for a 2018 sixth-round draft pick.
Gilbert appeared in 12 games for the Steelers, only 11 of which came on the defensive side of the ball. The rest of time that Gilbert saw the field it was on special teams.
One of two first-round draft picks by the Browns in the 2014 NFL Draft, Gilbert would go down as the worst draft pick in franchise history if it were not for quarterback Johnny Manziel, who was the second of the Browns two first-round draft picks in that fateful draft.
Instead of selecting a pair of players that could have pushed the Browns up the standings – for example, linebacker Khalil Mack and quarterback Derek Carr – former general manager Ray Farmer opted for two players that never wanted to put in the work required to be an NFL player and who are both out of the league, most likely for good.
Browns left tackle Joe Thomas, who is increasingly becoming the team’s vocal sage, took to Twitter after the news broke to lay down some harsh truth about life in the NFL:
Thomas’ Tweet could have a couple of different meanings.
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The first is that he understands how hard you have to work to be successful in the NFL and is disgusted that another couple of years of his career were wasted while dealing with players who don’t take their careers seriously.
Thomas could also be sending a message to the young players currently on the Browns roster. With a preponderance of players having just finished their first or second year in the league, Thomas is laying down a clear message that he has no intention of spending the remaining years of his career watching players not doing everything they can to get better.
If that is the case it is a smart play on the part of Thomas. While head coach Hue Jackson has made a great impression on the young players, having a future Hall of Fame teammate point out the facts of NFL life carries a lot of weight behind it.
Gilbert’s time in Cleveland was plagued by missed meetings and missed assignments. He was also taken to task by Karlos Dansby and Donte Whitner.
“(He needs to come back) with a new attitude (and be) willing to learn and do the small things it takes to be successful,” Whitner said following the 2015 season. “If not, I don’t know what will happen. But the slate can be wiped clean for him if he comes in with the right mindset, in the right shape that he’s supposed to be in. It can all change for him.”
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If Monday’s release by the Steelers is any indication, nothing has changed for Gilbert and it may be too late for him. The upside for the Browns is that at least he is no longer their problem.