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Joe Thomas has score to settle with Freeney

9/15/2011

The Browns' Joe Thomas has developed into one of the best left tackles in the NFL. He'll get to prove it Sunday when he lines up against Indianapolis defensive end Dwight Freeney.

ThomasThomasIt was three years ago when Freeney bull-rushed Thomas into quarterback Derek Anderson and forced a fumble that was returned by Robert Mathis for a 37-yard touchdown, the decisive score in Cleveland's 10-6 loss to the Colts.

"It's funny because he is kind of known for the spin and for his speed but he's one of the strongest players in the league," Thomas said Wednesday. "You see him picking up 335-pound tackles and throwing them and getting to the quarterback."

A four-time Pro Bowl player, Thomas allowed four sacks while being called for one holding penalty all of last season. He signed a seven-year, $84 million extension last month that includes nearly $44 million guaranteed.

The challenge of slowing down Freeney is heightened when it's at Indianapolis. The crowd noise makes it tough for offensive linemen, especially the tackles, to hear the snap counts, which allows Freeney to get a better jump off the line.