When the Philadelphia Eagles announced their coaching staff changes earlier in the week, they failed to mention that the coaching contract of former All-Pro tackle Tra Thomas wouldn't be renewed. Instead, a few reporters confirmed that Thomas won't be back.
Thomas, who played for Philadelphia from 1998-08, originally joined Chip Kelly's staff as an "offensive coach assistant" in 2013. He helped coach the Eagles' offensive line in his first year before moving to working with the outside linebackers in 2014. Thomas recently appeared on sports radio station 97.5 The Fanatic with Mike Missanelli to give an update on his situation.
In short, Thomas seemed grateful for the opportunity and said there were no hard feelings. He did seem a little disappointed, however, which is understandable. Read why the Eagles decided to not keep Thomas around:
Mike Missanelli: What is your opinion of what just happened? Why wouldn’t they have retained you? It’s kind of surprise to Eagles fans that you’re a guy who can obviously add some insight to an offensive line, being a guy who was very successful in this league. What do you make of this whole thing?
Tra Thomas: Well, you know what, I started my first year as the offensive line guy, and then last year I switched over and started working with the outside linebackers. I worked with the outside linebackers focusing on teaching pass rush. So I was working with Connor Barwin, [Brandon Graham], and Trent [Cole] on teaching how to get to the quarterback.
Miss: Are you surprised that you’re no longer with them? Can you shed some light on how this all went down?
Thomas: Well I was a little bit surprised, just because when I switched over to the outside linebackers, that group, they put up 16 sacks [in 2013], and then you switch me over on to the other side to start working with them, and this past season we put up 26.5 sacks. Connor Barwin went from five sacks to 14.5 sacks. So you know I was just a little bit surprised because you can look at the numbers and see that there was improvement in that group. But, you know, it’s just the way it goes.
Miss: Well who makes the call on that? Did you get a call directly from Chip [Kelly]? Or Howie [Roseman]? How’s it shake out where they make the call to say "Tra, we’re not going to have you back"?
Thomas: It was more of a in-between that phase where we were getting ready to do our little write ups and everything, and I just went in and asked coach what my situation was gonna be. And what I was told was that the position that — you know which I appreciate that position — I had was something that they kinda just made up for me just to get me some experience on this side of the game and that it’s not going to exist next year.
Miss: OK. So there are no hard feelings as far as you’re concerned?
Thomas: No! No hard feelings at all. It just is what it is. They made the decision not to bring me back, so OK. I appreciate the two years that they allowed me to get. I’ve learned a lot and what it’s going to take to be a coach on this side. And I plan to apply it and move forward.
While it's far from a big deal, Eagles fans might a little upset to see a former player not retained by the organization. Perhaps Thomas will find another job with another team.