The San Diego Chargers have added some depth at left tackle after 12-year veteran Tra Thomas retired on Friday. The Chargers added Thomas to the Reserve-Retired list on Monday and then signed undrafted free-agent guard Lee Grimes.
Grimes had initially signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a rookie free agent and even participated at Buccaneers training camp; however, he was cut on July 20th.
A product of Texas A&M, Grimes earned second-team All Big-12 honors while playing right tackle during his senior year in 2009. He also started 23 games over his final two seasons at Texas A&M. Grimes, 6'6" and 309 pounds, played guard for a majority of his junior year.
Thomas announced his retirement on Saturday, after not participating in training camp due to a knee injury. He had his knee scoped early during training camp, but was never able to get up to speed. Now, the Chargers without are left without a left tackle that has any major playing experience.
Brandyn Dombrowski did spend time at left tackle last season while filling in for an injured Marcus McNeill, but now Dombrowski will be sought to protect Philip Rivers' blindside for a full season.
Dombrowski has made great strides at his new position and has taken a majority of the snaps with the first-team offense during training camp.
Tyronne Green, who was drafted a guard in 2009, was moved to left tackle about two weeks after being moved from guard to right tackle in July. Green is shaping up to become Dombrowski's backup at left tackle. Green did take all of the snaps during training camp last week in preparation for last Saturday's game against the Cowboys; however, an ankle injury sidelined him and Dombrowski was given the start.
Pro Bowl left tackle Marcus McNeill, who is still maintaining his holdout over not receiving the long-term contract he wanted, isn't going to get any happier after his one-year tender was reduced again on Friday from $630,000 to $595,000.