Joe Thomas nearly met Pro Football Hall of Fame left tackle Walter Jones at the door in his underwear. His wife, Annie, was aware that the news was coming.

That’s how the former Wisconsin star lineman, and Cleveland Browns left tackle, recounted late Thursday night about the moment he learned about his Hall of Fame induction. Thomas was the 3rd overall pick in 2007, started 167 straight games for the Browns at left tackle, and made 10 Pro Bowls and with 6 first-team All-Pro honors during an 11-year career.

“It was a Friday afternoon after the kids got home from school,” Thomas told on Thursday night at the NFL Honors show after becoming a first-ballot Hall of Famer for the Class of 2023. “Annie said, ‘We need to have a family meeting about something with the kids.’ Typically, that means, ‘OK, Mom’s got to get dad here to yell at you guys because they’re not listening to me anymore.’”

“She told me, ‘Honey, go put some pants on,’” Thomas said. “I’m like, ‘We can talk to the kids like, everything’s fine. It’s just us.’”

Annie persisted, trying to keep the sheer panic out of her voice.

“She said, ‘Just go do it right now,’” he said. “I’m like, ‘It’ll take 5 seconds (to talk to the kids). As soon as we’re done here, I’ll go get dressed and we can leave.’

“She said, ‘Just go do it.’ Good husband, I know just listen to mom when she’s insistent on something. So I’m like, ‘OK, great.’ So I got dressed, came back downstairs. And we started talking about the distraction and we’re going to go out with friends, so I’m gonna go pour myself a little drink.”

Thomas became one of just 5 players in NFL history to make the Pro Bowl in each of his first 10 seasons. While Thomas played 10,363 consecutive offensive snaps for Cleveland, none of them came in the postseason.

Thomas was a 3-year starter at Wisconsin, and in 2005 and 2006 named first-team All-Big Ten, first-team All-American. In 2006, he was a unanimous consensus first-team All-American and the Outland Trophy winner as the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman.