32-year-old Browns lineman Joe Thomas on already experiencing memory loss: 'Every profession' has 'some lasting effects ... the damage has already been done'

Cleveland Browns veteran offensive lineman Joe Thomas says his 11 years in the NFL have already taken a toll on his body.

In an interview on "In Depth with Graham Bensinger," Thomas said he's already experiencing memory loss and he's sure "the damage has already been done" to his brain.

However, Thomas also has an unusual perspective on it. Thomas told Bensinger that the NFL, like all other jobs, comes with risks and that he needs to accept them in order to continue supporting his family.

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"There's definitely a concern, but the way I look at it is, just about every profession in our society, there's some lasting effects," Thomas said. "It's just the way our society is set up. People have to work. So, if I was a stone mason or I was a painter or if I was building bridges or whatever, there's gonna be some wear and tear on your body and your brain and that's just the way it is.

"To be able to live the lifestyle and provide for my family that football has been able to do, to me, it's a trade-off I'm willing to accept."

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Joe Thomas throughout his career
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Joe Thomas throughout his career
PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 1, 2017: Left tackle Joe Thomas #73 of the Cleveland Browns runs off the field prior to a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on January 1, 2017 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh won 27-24 in overtime. (Photo by: Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND - 2007: Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns poses for his 2007 NFL headshot at photo day in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19: (L-R) Quarterback, Brady Quinn #10 of the Cleveland Browns rides on the back of a golf cart with team mate, offensive tackle, Joe Thomas #73 at the 2007 NFL Players Rookie Premiere on May 19, 2007 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND - AUGUST 11: Joe Thomas #73 of the Cleveland Browns looks on during an NFL pre-season game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Cleveland Browns Stadium August 11, 2007 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the Chiefs 16-12. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND - AUGUST 11: Joe Thomas #73 of the Cleveland Browns blocks during a NFL preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs on August 11, 2007 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the Chiefs 16-12. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
DENVER - AUGUST 25: Offensive lineman Joe Thomas #73 of the Cleveland Browns warms up before the game against the Denver Broncos on August 25, 2007 at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 14: Offensive lineman Joe Thomas #73 of the Cleveland Browns looks on from the sideline during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 14, 2007 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the Dolphins 41-31. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 16, 2007: Offensive lineman Joe Thomas #73 of the Cleveland Browns blocks as Larry Tripplett #98 and Aaron Schobel #94 of the Buffalo Bills approach during a game on December 16, 2007 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won 8-0. Joe Thomas07-1226600 (Photo by: Diamond Images/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 2, 2011: Linebacker James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers battles offensive lineman Joe Thomas #73 of the Cleveland Browns during a game on January 2, 2011 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Pittsburgh won 41-9. (Photo by David Dermer/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 18: Offensive tackle Joe Thomas #73 of the Cleveland Browns during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 18, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Browns 20-17 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - DECEMBER 30, 2012: Offensive linemen Joe Thomas #73 and receiver Greg Little #15 of the Cleveland Browns stand by a heater on the sideline during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers won 24-10. (Photo by David Dermer/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 3: Tackle Joe Thomas #73 and center Alex Mack #55 of the Cleveland Browns celebrate after defeating the Buffalo Bills during the first half at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 3, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the Bills 37-24. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 01: Finalists for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award (L-R), Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals, Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns and Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys attend a press conference for Super Bowl XLVII at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on February 1, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
BEREA, OH - JULY 30, 2015: Left tackle Joe Thomas #73 of the Cleveland Browns walks off the field after a training camp practice on July 30, 2015 at the Cleveland Browns training facility in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by: Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 07: Quarterback Brian Hoyer #6 of the Cleveland Browns and tackle Joe Thomas #73 run onto the field during the player introductions against the Indianapolis Colts at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 7, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 1: Tackle Joe Thomas #73 of the Cleveland Browns takes a knee during a timeout against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 1, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 15: Assistant offensive line coach George DeLeone (R) of the Cleveland Browns talks with offensive linemen Cameron Erving (L) and Joe Thomas (C) during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 15, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Browns 30-9. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 3, 2016: Left tackle Joe Thomas #73 of the Cleveland Browns walks off the field prior to a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on January 3, 2016 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Pittsburgh won 28-12. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 18: Joe Thomas #73 of the Cleveland Browns during NFL game action against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on December 18, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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When Bensinger argued some jobs have worse effects than others, Thomas replied that Bensinger's job, which involves sitting, has likely affected his hip flexors and back. Thomas also said his memory loss will affect his wife more than him.

"She's the one that's going to have to deal with it," Thomas laughed. "Cause I'm gonna be, 'Who are you? Where did I get there?'"

Thomas continued, saying he hopes being "good-natured" about it will help him going forward.

"I think from my perspective, just being good-natured about it hopefully will help. I definitely expect memory loss. I'm already seeing memory loss, and maybe that's just because of my old age or maybe it's football, it's hard to tell ... It's hard to tell if it's because of football or if it's just because of you're 32 and not 21 anymore, and you've got a lot of stuff going on in your life."

Thomas said his memory loss is mostly with "short-term" things, like forgetting what he went to the grocery store for.

"I think if you really let it bug you, it can make you depressed and feel sad, like 'I don't have the memory that I used to have.' But I try to be relatively good-natured about it."

Thomas said he is concerned about the diseases that have been linked to brain injuries, naming Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's disease, and things like mood swings and depression that have led to suicide. However, he said he's already gone too far to worry about it too much.

"From my perspective, I can't do anything about it. This was the profession that I have already chosen and most of the damage has already been done already."

Thomas said he hopes that in ten years, medicine will have advanced and be able to help players more than some of the former players who have struggled with the aftermath of their injuries.

Certainly, Thomas' opinions differ from the numerous players who have retired early in hopes of protecting their health.

Likewise, one of the biggest problems with the NFL's concussion protocol is having players admit that they have gotten hurt or are experiencing concussion-like symptoms. Thomas' message seemingly doesn't help change the culture of admitting when a player has an injury and willingly sitting out.

Thomas' agent did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Watch Thomas' comments below:

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