Eagles left tackle Jason Peters talked to reporters Tuesday for the first time since tearing his Achilles last spring, and said he could have returned last year if not for the team’s miserable season.
“I could have, but I didn’t want to risk it with a losing season,” Peters said, via Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “The coaches kind of held me back a little.”
Peters said he’s been 100 percent since January, after a long year of rehabilitation. After the initial tear, he re-injured the same area weeks later when he fell off a medical scooter. But he said doctors told him he was not at a greater risk for a second tear now that this one’s healed.
He’s also working to get down to 320 pounds, after playing around 340 in the past. If nothing else, that’s less to drag around during the expected high-tempo practice new coach Chip Kelly will run.
Getting him back (at the level he played previously) would be a huge coup for the Eagles, who struggled last year replacing him. They tried signing free agent Demetress Bell, but he was released in February after one awful season. Coupled with season-ending injuries to center Jason Kelce and right tackle Todd Herremans, the Eagles couldn’t recover.
“It was a big difference,” Peters said about the impact his absence had on the unit. “I’m a starter. I’m the No. 1 offensive lineman in the league. Me being out there carried everyone else.”
And him being on IR dragged the rest of them right to the bottom as well.