Jaguars release veterans Holt, Thomas after young depth arises

The Jacksonville Jaguars chose youth over experience Thursday, releasing wide receiver Torry Holt and left tackle Tra Thomas, both of whom have made Pro Bowls during their distinguished NFL careers.

The moves were expected because Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio already told the aging veterans that they wouldn't be part of the team's rebuilding process.

Defensive lineman Rob Meier, a 10-year veteran who has played only for the Jaguars, also was released.

"After completing our postseason roster evaluation, we've made the decision in the best interest of the organization to release three veteran players with tremendous playing history in the league," Jaguars general manager Gene Smith told the team's official Web site. "All three players have played 10 or more years in the NFL and have made a positive impact on the Jaguars' organization. These decisions certainly weren't easy ones, as Torry, Tra and Rob have over 350 starts between them and they still have the ability contribute for other teams in the league."

Holt, a seven-time Pro Bowl selection in 10 years with the St. Louis Rams, caught 51 passes for 722 yards in his first season in Jacksonville, and his 63-yard reception during a Dec. 13 game against the Miami Dolphins was the Jaguars' longest of 2009. However, the team has faith that three-year pro Mike Sims-Walker and rookie Mike Thomas are ready to be big-time contributors.

"I'm confident Torry will be a first-ballot Hall of Fame player one day," Smith said of Holt, who was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 2000s. "He's a seven-time Pro-Bowl player who ranks 10th in NFL history in receiving yards (with 13,382) and earned a Super Bowl ring with the Rams. Torry was a player-coach for us this past year in the way he mentored our inexperienced receiving group, and he was one of the leaders of our team."

Thomas, a three-time Pro Bowl pick in 11 years with the Philadelphia Eagles, faced a similar situation as Holt. Thomas started three games in his first season with the Jaguars, but rookie offensive tackles Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton seem to be the team's future at the position.

"I know Eugene and Eben benefitted from Tra's veteran presence and craftiness as a player," Smith said.

Meier, who spent last season on injured reserve, has 215 tackles in his career and ranks ninth in Jaguars history with 21.5 sacks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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