They say an NFL team is only as good as the man it plays behind center. But if the quarterback is the most significant position on the field, the guy who keeps him on his feet and healthy is of penultimate importance. The Eagles have been fortunate enough to have one of the best left tackles in the game on their roster for seven years running.
On Tuesday, Jason Peters was named to his eighth Pro Bowl and his sixth in seven seasons as an Eagle. Standing 6-4 and weighing 328 pounds, the 33-year-old is as imposing physically as he is impressive athletically. A converted collegiate tight end, Peters is one of the most quick-footed tackles to ever play the position, and even in his 12th NFL season he still outclasses most of his peers in that regard.
Peters' outstanding career started somewhat unceremoniously. After going undrafted out of Arkansas in 2004, he began his career on the practice squad of the Buffalo Bills before earning a spot on their active roster late in his rookie season. Early on, he played exclusively on special teams, where he did just about everything from wedge blocking to punt blocking.
In light of the 2016 Pro Bowl announcement, we honor the three Eagles who have been selected this year. View the full gallery here...
But it didn't take long for Peters to realize his potential as an offensive lineman, starting the final nine games of the 2005 season at right tackle and becoming the team's full-time starter on the left end of the line in 2007. Since then, Peters has failed to earn a Pro Bowl invitation just once, when he suffered a ruptured Achilles that forced him to miss the entire 2012 season.
With the Eagles, Peters has started 86 games, all at left tackle, since the team traded for him in 2009. He's been named to the Pro Bowl six times since then, tying him for fourth in franchise history along with Donovan McNabb and Pete Pihos. Chuck Bednarik (8), Reggie White (7) and Brian Dawkins (7) are the only three players with more trips to the all-star game as a representative of Philadelphia. Pihos, Bednarik and White are all enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and McNabb and Dawkins may one day be as well. Many believe Peters belongs in that conversation as well.
Jason Peters is currently three Pro Bowl invitations shy of tying the record for offensive tackles shared by Anthony Muñoz, Jonathan Ogden and Willie Roaf. With three more seasons remaining on his current contract, the six-time All-Pro has a chance to earn a spot amongst those all-time greats in the record books and in Canton, Ohio.