Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie announced at halftime of Thursday night's preseason opener against the Steelers that longtime offensive tackles Jon Runyan and Tra Thomas will go into the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame together on October 14 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to Lincoln Financial Field.
"Building a strong offensive line may not generate all the headlines, and those players aren't the ones who are going to score touchdowns and gain a lot of attention, but it is absolutely essential to success in the NFL. It is something we have always valued with the Philadelphia Eagles," Lurie said.
"Together, Tra and Jon gave us every bit of confidence to execute the kind of offense we wanted. They were the perfect complement to each other. Both players were durable and consistent, and they gave us great advantages winning one-on-one battles on the edges."
Thomas was the Eagles' first-round pick (No. 11 overall) in 1998 out of Florida State. Runyan was the crown jewel of free agency two years later. They formed the best bookend tackle duo of the 2000s, helping the Eagles win five NFC East titles, reach five NFC Championship Games, and one Super Bowl in the 2004 campaign. Individually, Thomas earned three Pro Bowl nominations – tied for second most by an offensive tackle in franchise history – and Runyan earned one.
"We all felt that when we selected Tra with the 11th overall pick that year that we had taken a step in the right direction to put this football team on a sustained winning path," Lurie said. "Having the opportunity in the 2000 free agency period to add Jon, another huge man at 6-7, 330 pounds, gave us something we desperately needed, a nasty disposition to really win battles in the trenches. At the time, Jon's contract as a right tackle made him the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history. And he proved to be worth every bit of that investment."
Runyan and Thomas will be the 46th and 47th individuals to be enshrined in the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame.