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Cleveland Browns

Thomas goes to Washington

By Marla Ridenour Published: July 16, 2009

Browns Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas was among 19 active and retired NFL players who visited Capitol Hill Wednesday to lobby members of Congress against an impending labor lockout.

''Never before, that I know of, has the union taken this direction of going to Congress,” NFLPA president and Tennessee center Kevin Mawae said on the Players Association's web site. ''But we want to let members of Congress know we’re more than just football players. We are businessmen and we know that if there’s a lockout it would hurt us in providing for our families, hurt our communities and hurt everyone whose work is affected by NFL games.''

According to the site, 16 active and three retired players spent eight hours in meetings with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Linda Sanchez, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee; Rep. Chris Van Hollen, assistant to the Speaker of the House; and Congressman Heath Shuler, a former NFL quarterback.

Two ex-Ohio State players, tight end Ben Hartsock of Atlanta and linebacker Mike Vrabel of Kansas City (and Walsh Jesuit High School) also participated.

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