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Joe Thomas officially bids Browns farewell with laughs, tears

With just the right mix of self-deprecating humor and sincere feelings, Joe Thomas said with emotion Monday that the time had come for him to say goodbye to his NFL playing career.

Goodbye not because I’m retiring, but because I’m merely changing jobs, Thomas told fans as he wiped away a tear. From being your left tackle to being the No. 1 fan of the Cleveland Browns.

Thomas said he wanted to talk to former coach Eric Mangini, but he would have had to ride a bus with him to Connecticut — a reference to Mangini having Browns rookies bus to Connecticut and back to take part in Mangini’s coaching clinic.

Thomas said former quarterback Brandon Weeden tried to text, but he still was caught under a giant American flag (something that happened before Weeden’s first game in Cleveland); that former VP Sashi Brown tried to send information but didn’t submit it on time (a reference to the botched trade deadline deal for AJ McCarron); and that Johnny Manziel tried to call him from a club but the money phone didn’t have good service.

I am very pleased that we were able to make Jonathan a New York Football Giant, Gettleman said. He is a quality runner with power and speed and brings a veteran, professional presence to our locker room. He’s a terrific addition for us at this time.

They did not land their big prize in free agency, as Norwell will sign a five-year, $66.5 million deal with the Jaguars, according to ESPN. Norwell, the top guard on the open market and only 26 years old, will receive $30 in guaranteed money. He becomes the NFL’s highest-paid guard, averaging $13.3 million per year. The price tag was expected to rise above $12 million per year, and it did.

Make no mistake, the Giants had serious interest in Norwell and not getting him is a setback. They knew the price would be steep and when it exceeded the value the Giants placed on Norwell, Gettleman did not raise the ante and assign a greater value to the player, allowing Tom Coughlin, running the show for the Jaguars, to cash in. The Giants’ offer was competitive, but playing in Jacksonville, Norwell does not have to pay any state taxes.

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