If there was any doubt as to why Tra Thomas wanted to retire as an Eagle, the respected veteran cleared it up on Thursday when he officially hung up his spikes as a member of the team for which he played for 11 seasons.

“The happiest day of my life was the day I was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles,’’ Thomas said. “And the worst day of my life was the day I had to leave here.”

Thomas played in three Pro Bowls and one Super Bowl with the Eagles, anchoring a line that was among the NFL’s best for several seasons. He was always a stoic warrior who had the respect of his coaches and teammates, and that’s why even they were surprised at how emotional Thomas was during his farewell speech.

Thomas really choked up when he talked about Andy Reid, his coach for 10 of his 11 seasons with the Eagles.

“He was always there for me,’’ Thomas said. “He’s like a second father figure to me.”

Thomas got too emotional to continue and as he struggled to regain his composure Reid, who was standing off to the side, proved that once a coach, always a coach by saying quietly, but firmly “Take a deep breath …”

Thomas ended his career by playing one final season with the Jaguars, but he said the magic was gone by then. The Jags weren’t that good and the fans weren’t nearly as passionate and he didn’t really know his new teammates.

“It just wasn’t the same,’’ he said. “That’s when I knew it was time to let it go.”

There are only a handful of Eagles left that were on the team when Thomas played in Philadelphia and only one other offensive lineman, Todd Herremans, who lined up with Thomas for four seasons.

“Tra not only helped me learn how to play in the NFL, he taught me how to carry myself as a professional and as a representative of this team and this city,’’ Herremans said. “Plus, he was the best left tackle in the game. He was definitely somebody the entire NFL looked up to and admired. He was a real man, on and off the field.”

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Philadelphia Eagles from blogger Kevin Noonan, follow @CBSSportsNFLPHI.