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Joe Thomas wants to decide on future by free agency

Joe Thomas will let us know his future within the next week.

The Cleveland Browns left tackle reiterated Tuesday night at the National Football Foundation Annual Awards Banquet that he will tell the team whether he's returning or retiring before the start of free agency next Wednesday so that they can plan around his decision.

"Not leaning one way or the other towards retirement," Thomas told ESPN Cleveland's Jason Gibbs. "Trying to get something decided before free agency."

Thomas confirmed that he's been exploring options for a broadcasting career but hasn't been offered a job yet. The New York Post reported Thomas recently auditioned with FOX and FOX Sports 1.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported last week that Thomas is preparing to play, and those who know him well believe he'll be back for 2018.

The closer we get to the deadline without a decision, however, the more it sounds like he could change his mind.

"It's kind of like picking a college. One day you think it's this school, the next it's another," Thomas said.

The future Hall of Fame left tackle saw his streak of 10,363 consecutive snaps broken in October when he suffered a season-ending triceps injury.

Thomas has earned the right to walk away on his own terms after years of being a stalwart on the blindside of countless Cleveland QBs. We'll know within a week whether his days of protecting the next string of Browns signal-callers will continue.

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