Appreciate your stalwarts

Remember to reward the quietly reliable

Area sports fans know by now that Cleveland Browns’ left tackle and franchise cornerstone Joe Thomas has retired after 11 seasons. Man, was he good — and good for a long time.

Stats aside, what’s remarkable is that nearly every year Thomas came to work it was for an organization that was markedly different than the one he left. Too frequently it was new executives with new approaches, new coaches with their own tics and tricks to managing players who also changed nearly every season — top draft picks designated as franchise-changers by the previous regime gone when they didn’t fit the new folks’ scheme.

And through it all, there was Joe.

What would your business look like if you turned over 80 percent of your staff every couple years? That’s not unheard of. The trucking industry, at least at one point, had nearly 100 percent annual turnover. There’s also high turnover with folks in social services, especially those who care for the disabled. Those industries are compelled to offer incentives to attract talent — Browns fans can make the connection here — just to get by. It’s tough to thrive in that situation.

When an organization is characterized by chaos, a stalwart who follows his or her own standard of excellence is priceless — those who put their head down and focus on their job, working to be the best at what they do out of a sense of personal pride.

But being that person can mean being taken for granted. They’re so reliable they’re forgotten, passed up for a chance to advance and not a squeaky enough wheel to get a well-deserved raise.

Joe Thomas will get his recognition. Already Cleveland is declaring July 3 Joe Thomas Day, and the number 10,363, his consecutive snap streak, is expected to soon be on display at First Energy Stadium, memorials that no doubt precede his enshrinement in Canton.

Left tackles tend not to stand in the spotlight, but teams feel it when they lack talent there. Appreciate your Joe Thomas before he or she finds it someplace else.

Adam is interested in the people and businesses making a difference in Akron/Canton.