In this episode, Joe Hawley talks with NFL legend Joe Thomas about his personal journey transitioning out of the league. They dive deep into his yoga practice and how that helped him both during his time in the league and in recovering after retirement. They also explore injury, holistic health, and cultivating a healthier relationship with food and weight loss.
Joe Thomas was an NFL offensive lineman who played 11 years with the Cleveland Browns. He was drafted 3rd pick in 2007 and had developed an impressive resume throughout the entirety of his football career, including:
In the third year of his career, Joe and his teammates were introduced to yoga, which developed into a passion. Yoga helped Thomas gain an understanding of his body and allowed him to develop unique techniques to apply to his position. To this day, he has maintained his yoga practice along with biking, swimming, and lifting to complete his exercise routine.
Although he wasn’t ready at the time, Thomas first began thinking about retirement during his 6th year in the NFL after developing painful back spasms that lasted much of the season due to a bulging disc in his spine. But it wasn’t until his 9th season that the possibility of retirement became real. At this point, Joe had to get his knee drained before and after every game, in addition to taking anti-inflammatory medications just to allow his knee to bend. Outside of games, Thomas struggled to walk or stand for any period of time. He stayed involved during practices by embracing the coach/mentor roles with some of his teammates.
As his practice hours decreased, Joe developed flexibility in mindset and role that allowed him to experience a smooth transition, unlike many others. When he tore his tricep tendon during his 10th season, rather than ending his career abruptly, Joe felt ready to retire. He then moved on to become an analyst with the NFL Network and is still very much involved in the football world. Additionally, Joe now co-hosts his own podcast, The ThomaHawk Show.
Twitter | @joethomas73
Podcast | The ThomaHawk Show
Website | Joe Hawley
Instagram | @joe.hawley
Website | The Härt Collective
Instagram | @the.hart.collective