Browns’ Joel Bitonio is getting 100% real information about his career amid retirement rumors

Cleveland Browns guard Joel Bitonio is gearing up for his 11th season in the NFL, and while he knows he’s in the later stages of his career, he’s not calling the 2024 season his last.

“I feel like I’ve definitely played more seasons than I have left,” Joel Bitonio said, according to Spencer German of Browns Digest. “But really, I’ll take it one year, one game at a time, you never know. You know, Joe (Thomas) played for 11 years. I am now turning 11 years old. So it’s a blessing every time I get to keep playing football. It will determine a lot how my body feels and everything, and also how we are as a team. But right now I’m feeling good and I’m ready for this year and, you know, hopefully, like you said, I can recover physically and have a great year.

Bitonio was a key part of the Browns’ offensive line in his first 10 seasons and will enter his 11th season. He will be a key protector for Deshaun Watson in 2024 as he hopes to bounce back from two disappointing seasons.

Joel Bitonio hopes to stay healthy in 2024

Bitonio dealt with a knee injury that caused him to miss a game and hampered his on-field play for the remainder of the season with the Browns. Later that year he also suffered back and ankle injuries. That’s not the norm for Bitonio, and he hopes to come back and have a healthy year. As of now, Bitonio said he is feeling good this offseason.

“I feel very good now,” Bitonio said, according to German. “You don’t play football for a few months and you get some treatments and some stuff, and the body starts to feel a lot better. So, brand new, I’m in a good place physically and I’m ramping up my running and conditioning and lifting and stuff. So I’m feeling good now, you know, and we still have a while before the season starts. So hopefully it will only continue to improve.”

As for staying healthy at age 32, Bitonio acknowledges that he has to do things differently than what he did early in his career.

“As a newcomer, I thought if I took two days off I would be behind for the season,” Bitonio said, according to German. “Now, though, there’s a fine line between exhausting myself before the season starts and making sure I’m in shape to play. … It’s hard because I really enjoy practicing and being out there and working on my craft. I think that was part of it last year. I couldn’t do it because of the way my body reacted. But you still get it done, you still get the reps you can, but you also take the days you need to make sure you’re ready for Sunday. It’s a fine line, but I think we’re working through it and I think we have a pretty good plan.

Bitonio may not train every day or as hard as the younger players on the roster, but he is a veteran and knows how to be ready for games. It seems like he has a plan to be ready for games without physically exhausting himself. Deshaun Watson hopes this plan works and that Bitonio will protect him this season.