Kevin Stefanski Won't Let Jedrick Wills Wear No. 73 for Browns Even After Joe Thomas Said it Was Okay

Cleveland Browns first-round draft pick Jedrick Wills
Cleveland Browns first-round draft pick Jedrick Wills / Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Kevin Stefanski is asserting his authority early on in his tenure as head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

In a major power play, the first-year coach is prohibiting Jedrick Wills, the team's No. 10 overall selection in the NFL Draft, from wearing his desired No. 73 jersey. Browns legend Joe Thomas previously donned that number, and he actually gave the Alabama product his approval to wear it. Even so, Stefanski isn't having it.

The new coach deserves massive credit for sticking to his guns. No matter what Thomas felt here, he absolutely made the right call.

Thomas' No. 73 simply shouldn't be worn again in Browns history, period, and is sure to be formally retired in due time. The former Wisconsin Badger was named to the Pro Bowl in every season from 2010-2016 and received First Team All-Pro honors six times.

Perhaps more impressively, Thomas played an NFL recorded 10,363 consecutive snaps from the start of his rookie campaign in 2007 until he suffered a torn tricep in 2017, later opting to retire. As far as valiant servants to the game concerned, the former No. 3 overall pick is among the most significant in the history of the NFL. His entire career was spent in Cleveland, and he's an absolute lock for the Hall of Fame.

In no form or fashion should Wills take this as a slight from his new head coach, either. The 20-year-old Alabama rookie did nothing to persuade Stefanski's decision -- it just is what it is. Thomas is simply that iconic to the Browns and city of Cleveland as a whole.