Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tra Thomas retires as an Eagle

(The Phanatic Magazine) - Former Pro Bowl left tackle Tra Thomas will retire as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday.

Originally drafted by Philadelphia with the 11th overall pick in the 1998 draft, Thomas went on to become one of the best tackles in franchise history earning three Pro Bowl bids and one All-Pro berth in 11 seasons with the team.

“Tra Thomas is one of the best offensive linemen to ever put on an Eagles uniform," team owner Jeffrey Lurie said. "He was an anchor at the left tackle position for many years and played such an integral role in our success, though he probably never got all the credit he deserved.

"Besides being such a great player, Tra is an even better person and someone I’ve always had a great relationship with. I’m proud of what he has done with his career after football as he has remained very successful while keeping his home in this area. We are very happy that he is retiring as an Eagle.”

During his time with the Eagles, Thomas helped anchor an offensive line that paved the way for five 1,000-yard rushing seasons for Duce Staley (1998-99, 2002) and Brian Westbrook (2006-07), including a 2007 All Pro campaign by Westbrook in which he set a team record and led the league with 2,104 total yards from scrimmage. In addition, Thomas spent the majority of his career protecting the blindside of quarterback Donovan McNabb, who went to five Pro Bowls and set every major club passing record playing with Thomas as his left tackle.

Thomas finished his career with the Eagles in 2008 ranked second in club annals in games played by an offensive lineman (166) and fourth overall, missing only eight games due to injury during that time span. In fact, he and former right tackle Jon Runyan started 134 games together, the most by a tackle tandem in franchise history. In addition, Thomas started in 17 career playoff games with the Eagles, including five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl appearance. Only Brian Dawkins made more playoff starts with the team (18).

The 37-year-old Thomas played in eight games (three starts) for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2009, finishing his career with 174 games played and 168 starts.

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