Tra Thomas officially retired as Eagle today in a ceremony at the NovaCare complex. Tra spent 11 years in Philadelphia as a stalwart at the left tackle spot after being taken with the 11th overall pick in the 1998 draft.
As he said his many thank yous today, two in particular stood out. First was his coach, Andy Reid. Tra got a bit choked up as he talked about Reid taught him over the years.
"I want to just thank Coach [Andy] Reid for just always being there and being like a second father-figure to me. I said I wasn't going to be like this coming up here. I thought I was going to be able to hold myself together, but Coach Reid always was there throughout a lot of my own personal situations, coming up, just playing the game and just living through life and I just think that [he] just made such a great example of what it takes to be a father, to be a husband and to even being a professional in this game. You know, me and [former Eagles QB Donovan] McNabb used to joke all the time because when we would have our post-meetings all the time, Coach Reid would call us in and he would always give us this speech about Reggie White and Brett Favre. Do you remember you used to call us in all the time and we would get all these speeches? I'm like, ‘Man, here we go. Coach Reid is about to talk to us again about Reggie White and Brett Favre.' And it was always the same story. It wasn't until when I was just thinking about, with me retiring, that that all came together; what you were really trying to do and what he was teaching us was how to be a professional and how to carry yourself from being a talented athlete in college and how to put the work into this game to make yourself a legacy and make yourself a legend. And I think that's what you were really trying to put into us and I really appreciate that."
He also gave a shout out to the fans after the jump.
"I just want to thank the fans also. I think the Philadelphia fan base is the number one fan base in the world and I just really was charged by that. I tell everybody that the happiest day of my football career was being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. The saddest day was when I left; when I had to leave. That has been erased by this right here; being able to retire a Philadelphia Eagle. This is something that I've always wanted. All I've ever wanted to be is a Philadelphia Eagle and that's all I ever wanted to do and to be able to retire as a Philadelphia Eagle just means so much to me and my family. I just thank you guys for all that you've done and just supporting me along the way. I'm letting you know now that, Coach [Reid], in whatever capacity that I can, I want to come in and help this organization any way I can. Wherever you feel that I could serve within this organization, I'm here for you. You just let me know where I need to be and what time I need to be there and I'll be there. I'll give you guys whatever I can. I want to help this organization get the championship that they deserve. I think this organization is second-to-none. This is a top-notch organization. I love this organization and I'll be able to do whatever I can to help this organization in every way that I can.
The Florida native will remain in the Philly area working as an Eagles commentator for Comcast SportsNet and running his gym in Medford, http://www.7deucesports.com/ .
I also always like when guys talk about their favorite moment. For Tra, it came early on.
"I think the one game that really sticks out to me would probably be my rookie year when I played against [former Kansas City Chiefs DE] Derrick Thomas because he was one of the first big-name pass rushers that I had to go against. I mean, he had already set the sack record. So, he was one of those guys that was going to either define you or tear you down and that was after one of Ray Rhodes' crazy speeches and I went out there and just went after it and shut him down. Zero tackles and zero sacks. He was just out there on the field. I think that was just one of the games that really sticks out. Back then, I used to talk a lot of trash, so I was all in his huddle, chasing after him, talking trash and [former Eagles QB] Rodney Peete starting talking to me like I was some type of kid; told me to get back in the huddle. I think that was one of the games that really just stuck out to me other than, you know, just making it to the Super Bowl."