Looking back at the Eagles' bookends

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Excellent column in the Philly Daily News today by Rich Hofmann about the impact that offensive tackles Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan made on the franchise. Hofmann hops in his way-back machine and compares Runyan-Thomas to former Eagles tackles Jerry Sisemore and Stan Walters.

"One hundred thirty-four regular-season games. One hundred thirty-four," writes Hofmann. "It is an absurd number that doesn't even count the preseason or the postseason. It defies logic. It mocks the physicality of professional football. Now that Thomas is leaving the Eagles for Jacksonville, and Runyan is unsigned and recuperating from knee surgery, the outrageous run of games for these two offensive tackles is over. The phrase "end of an era," however facile and cliched, seems to fit."

It seems like Eagles fans have shed most of their tears for the departing Brian Dawkins, but you can't overestimate the importance of Dawkins and Thomas. Since 2000 (Andy Reid's second year), the Eagles have never had to worry about the men most responsible for protecting Donovan McNabb. Who knows what Reid will do to replace Thomas? He may move Shawn Andrews out there or the Eagles may draft a left tackle. But Thomas and Runyan will be missed -- perhaps more than Dawkins in some ways.