Browns' Joe Thomas says he'll decide whether to retire or return before start of free agency

Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas said Tuesday night he is close to making a decision on his future.

Thomas, 33, has been debating whether to retire and go into television broadcasting or return for another season. He has auditioned for both ESPN and Fox as an NFL analyst.

Thomas, attending the National Football Foundation Annual Awards Banquet in Cleveland, told ESPN-Cleveland and WKYC he hasn't been offered any TV jobs yet but he's exploring options, and he said the end is coming sooner than later.

"It's kind of like picking a college," Thomas said. "One day you think it's this school, the next it's another."

Thomas said he will let the Browns know if he will play in 2017 or retire by the time free agency begins March 14.

The general thinking is that if Thomas returns, it would be for one season.

Thomas is entering the final year of a seven-year, $80.5 million contract and -- factoring in base salary and bonuses -- would take home $13.5 million in 2018.

In October, Thomas tore his left triceps during a game against the Tennessee Titans, ending a remarkable streak of 10,363 consecutive snaps. He had surgery on Oct. 24, ending his season.

Thomas had said in April that he was experiencing memory loss, but he could not say whether playing in the NFL had caused the problem.

"I definitely expect memory loss," Thomas said on "In Depth with Graham Bensinger." "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.

"I mean, there's no double-blind studies when it comes to people's life. It's just a part, I think, of sometimes getting older. And it's hard to tell it's because of football or because you're 32 and you're not 21 anymore and you have a lot of stuff going in your life."

Thomas, the No. 3 pick in the 2007 draft, has been named to the Pro Bowl 10 times.

ESPN's Pat McManamon contributed to this report.