Chargers sign free agent left tackle Tra Thomas


The Chargers have bolstered their offensive line with the free agent signing of three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Tra Thomas to a one-year contract. Thomas provides the Chargers with valuable depth and experience at left tackle.

A former first-round draft pick, the 6-7, 316-pound Thomas went to Pro Bowls following the 2001, ’02 and ’04 seasons and has played in five NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl.

“Tra is a talented player with a wealth of starting experience,” said Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith. “We have held him in high regard for many years. He will be added to the mix as we move forward in preparation for the upcoming season.”

The 11th overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft by Philadelphia, Thomas spent his first 11 seasons in the “City of Brotherly Love” and was voted by Eagles fans as a starting tackle on their 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. Thomas started 165 of 166 games in the regular season and 17 of 17 in the playoffs for the Eagles, missing only eight games in 11 seasons due to injury. Thomas’ last season in Philadelphia (2008) may have been one of his best as the Eagles allowed the lowest ratio of sacks to pass plays (1 to 27.3) in franchise history.

The Eagles achieved several other notable marks with Thomas protecting the blind side of quarterback Donovan McNabb. In 2006, the Eagles’ line allowed the team’s fewest sacks (28) since 1991 and it helped the Eagles produce a team-record 6,103 yards of total net offense. In 2004, the Eagles’ OL gave the team’s quarterbacks time and protection to pass for a team-record 4,208 yards. And in 2002 the unit helped the Eagles average a team-record 25.9 points per game.

In 2009, Thomas left Philadelphia and signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. A reserve for the Jags, Thomas played in just eight games and started just three.

A native of DeLand, Florida, the 35-year-old Thomas played collegiately at Florida State. His father, William “Crane” Thomas, played tackle at Florida A&M and went to training camp with the Atlanta Falcons in 1974.

— Source: San Diego Chargers