Future Hall of Fame offensive tackle Jason Peters battles the Dallas Cowboys on the field during the season. It gets worse in the offseason, however, as Peters deals with Cowboys fans. Peters resides near his hometown of Queen City, Texas, a three-hour drive east of Dallas.
The 6-4, 328-pound Peters is quick on his feet as he has the perfect comeback every time a Cowboys fan wants to bring up the heated division rivalry.
"I just tell them, 'You want to see the ring?'"
On the night of February 4, 2018, it was Peters who walked into The Depot in Minneapolis, the site of the Eagles' post-Super Bowl party, hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy in the air. Peters didn't play in the championship tilt, as he recovered from a season-ending knee injury. The gesture, however, highlights the immense respect that the Eagles have for Peters.
Peters has done almost everything in his 16-year NFL career. He transitioned from a rookie free agent tight end to perennial Pro Bowl and All-Pro offensive tackle. He was traded from Buffalo where he started his career to Philadelphia 10 years ago. There's only one player in franchise history with more Pro Bowl selections wearing an Eagles uniform – Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik.
Yes, Peters has the same amount as Brian Dawkins and Reggie White with six apiece.
But for all of the individual glory, Peters wants to be playing on the field when the confetti fall following the Super Bowl. He returned for the start of the 2018 season, but by his own admission had a down year. He overcompensated for the knee injury and battled other ailments, including a torn biceps muscle.
Still, the Eagles were just three wins shy of another crown. As Peters walked off the turf at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, he knew that he wanted to come back for 2019. There was never any doubt. He doesn't have anything to prove. He just loves the game, the competition, the grind. He's still addicted after all these years.
"Never thought I'd play this long," Peters said. "I'm just taking it a year at a time, stacking them up, and look at it at the end."
Peters thanked head coach Doug Pederson and offensive line coach/run game coordinator Jeff Stoutland for limiting his reps in practice during the week to ensure he's at his best on Sundays, a process that will continue in 2019.
One-hundred percent healthy, Peters says that 2019 will be a "bounce-back" year as he and the other injured players who did not suit up for the Super Bowl win have "unfinished business."
That list includes quarterback Carson Wentz. Peters joined Wentz for a pre-Training Camp get-together in Houston. He told the face of the franchise many times in the past year that they helped "start the bus" in 2017 before their teammates finished the job.
Wentz, too, eyes a comeback season after his 2018 campaign was ended early due to a back injury.
"He looks great. Definitely, definitely 100 percent right now. Stronger, faster, throwing the ball like his rookie year, so he's definitely back," Peters said of Wentz. "He got a swagger about himself. His confidence level is up in the huddle when he's calling a play."
Peters has been in the league long enough to recognize the amount of talent that the Eagles have on offense. The offensive line should be a top-five unit, Peters said. The only Eagles team that had comparable weapons was the 2010 squad that featured Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, and DeSean Jackson, who of course is back. But it doesn't mean a thing if the Eagles don't figure out how to put it together over the next six-plus weeks before the regular-season opener against Washington.
Peters is ready to rev up the bus once again and embark on a journey that hopefully doesn't end until he heads back to his offseason home with another piece of jewelry.