Coming into this season, Jason Peters isn’t just the oldest player on the Eagles’ roster. He’s one of the oldest position players in the league.
He didn’t even think about retiring this offseason.
“Not this year,” Peters said on Friday morning. “I’m gonna be honest about it. I knew I was coming back. I had a down year last year coming off that knee and I just wanted to bounce back.”
Peters, 37, admitted he came back last season a little too soon from the torn ACL that ended his 2017 season early. In 2018, he started every game for the Eagles but played around just 80 percent of the team’s offensive snaps. He was in and out of the lineup frequently and struggled to finish games. He said some of the other injuries came from overcompensating for the healing knee.
But now the future Hall of Famer feels good right after an offseason that wasn’t dominated by rehab.
I feel like I’m back 100 percent right now,” he said. “We’ll see what it do in September.
Since he arrived to Philly in a trade during the offseason before the 2009 season, Peters is the longest-tenured player on the roster. The former undrafted tight end out of Arkansas, whom the Bills turned into a tackle, has had a Hall of Fame-worthy career. He has been a nine-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro. Last year was his first since 2006 playing a full season and not being a Pro Bowler.
While Peters is on the field this summer, expect head coach Doug Pederson and offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland to limit his practice time. This is what they’ve done for the last few years and Peters thinks it has actually helped to extend his career.
“Of course,” he said. “They take care of me. If we’ve got 10 reps, I do about six. As long as I go as hard as I can, it’s keeping my body in shape. If you go out there and do 10, six hard and four you’re lallygagging, that’s no good. So I just take my six and go full tilt and go to the sideline.”
Including the season he missed in 2012, this upcoming year will be Peters’ 16th in the NFL. He isn’t sure how much longer he wants to play. And despite playing longer than he ever expected to, it doesn’t seem like he’s in a hurry to retire.
This offseason, Peters did agree to a contract restructure to lower his cap hit. Both sides were motivated to have him back for this upcoming season. But he can’t go on forever. And the Eagles drafted his likely replacement in April, when they took Andre Dillard with the No. 22 pick overall.
“We’re just renting,” Peters said when asked about his reaction to the Dillard pick. “You’re just renting a spot and when they get ready to get you out of there, they draft somebody high. Whether it’s a year out, two years out, they’re gonna put him in there at some point.”
Remember, though, we all thought the Eagles were drafting Peters’ eventual replacement when they took Lane Johnson with the No. 4 pick in 2013. That was six years ago. And despite Johnson’s development into a Pro Bowl player, Peters still hasn’t given up his post at left tackle.
Maybe Peters won’t be able to re-find his dominant form at 37 years old. Maybe we’re in for another season of nagging injuries. But it’s July and one of the best players in franchise history says he’s healthy and ready to go.
“I’m just taking it one year at a time,” he said. “As long as they keep me here, I’m gonna roll.”
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.