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Joe Thomas: We can make playoffs with franchise QB

Perhaps there's something about the city of Cleveland that inspires a certain intense loyalty late in one's career.

Either that, or Browns left tackle Joe Thomas is just stubborn in the best possible way. With his team appearing like a unanimous choice to land toward the bottom of a brutal AFC North, the eight-time Pro Bowl lineman doesn't want to go anywhere.

"The optimism that I have right now, I feel I'm on a team that can make the playoffs with a franchise quarterback," Thomas told ESPN Cleveland. "I certainly don't want to be traded. If I ever got to that situation, I guess I would have to live with it and make the most of it. But, I want to be in Cleveland when we make the playoffs."

Thomas isn't taking a shot at Browns' management either. Further down in the piece, he raves about veteran Josh McCown and new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. There's a chance Thomas thinks his wish will come true in 2015.

But more than that, Thomas, who was speaking about a hypothetical situation in which he'd be traded to a contender while the Browns develop their young core of offensive linemen, doesn't see any merit in making the playoffs anywhere else.

"It would be like being a secretary (with a team) and getting a Super Bowl ring," he said. "Not that you didn't have a part in it, but here I would be such an integral part of the turnaround. It's just that important to me. It's not as important to say 'I played in the playoffs once for Denver, and they were a great team before I got there and I just kind of rode the wave.'"

Reading the rest of Thomas' thoughts are well worth your time. It's fascinating to hear from a player who has every reason to be a malcontent, but one who honestly believes in each incarnation of The Turnaround in Cleveland.

While the team's bones have never been stronger -- a solid offensive line, defensive line and secondary would be appealing to any personnel man -- Thomas had better hope McCown is the franchise quarterback he was wishing for.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses Tom Brady's lawsuit and debates which veteran players are most likely to be cut.

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