After a highlight reel of his greatest moments as an Eagle played on the big screen inside the NovaCare Complex auditorium, Tra Thomas showed a side of him that was rarely seen even by those closest to him.
The three-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle officially retired as an Eagle on Thursday. As he gave his opening remarks, Thomas had to pause as the tears flowed while recalling his remarkable 11-year career in Philadelphia as one of the foundations of a golden era of the franchise.
"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," Thomas said. "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."
Offensive tackle Todd Herremans credited Thomas for helping turn him from a Division II college player into a quality NFL starter. In addition to helping on the field, Herremans explained how Thomas taught him to be a professional, to do the little things without complaint. Herremans was proud to be able to watch Thomas' retirement ceremony.
"For me, it was cool to sit in the audience and watch him pour his heart out about the organization and his teammates and just everything he's been through," said Herremans, who started alongside Thomas at left guard from 2006-08. "Tra's a tough guy. He doesn't really talk about that kind of stuff that much. We'll get one-on-one every once in a while and you'll see a little bit of it, but nothing like that. It was special to see how he felt, just the raw emotion coming out of him."
Click on the video player above to watch the entire retirement ceremony.
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