No one is sure when Jason Peters will finally decide to hang up his cleats for good. When he makes that decision, rest assured there is a spot waiting for him at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Peters will go down as the greatest left tackle in NFL history.
The 15-year NFL veteran hasn’t announced a retirement date or given any inclination that it will be soon. And the Eagles aren’t in any rush for Peters to leave despite just drafting his would-be replacement at left tackle in Andre Dillard. Either way, the stories his former teammates tell about the 330-pounder are modern-day tall tales.
Peters came into the league as an undrafted tight end. He was actually cut by the Buffalo Bills in his rookie year before the team brought him back and moved him to the offensive line. Peters didn’t even make it past the first round of cuts, or when the roster gets trimmed down from 80 to 65 players. Former teammate Ross Tucker recently appeared on the Adam Lefkoe Show and told the mythical-yet-totally true story.
“The day they moved him to the offensive line, he was playing tight end, and they had him come down and do 1-on-1s,” Tucker told Adam Lefkoe. “And I was never really good at 1-on-1s. It’s a very difficult drill for an offensive lineman. Jason came down and they put him at offensive tackle. Nobody could beat him.”
Tucker, who played offensive line for three seasons in the NFL, was embarrassed by how quickly Peters picked up the position.
“He was better at doing something for five seconds than I had been for 18 years,” Tucker said. “He had no idea what he was doing. His technique was all over the place. But his feet were that good and his arms were that long. They put some legit rushers up against him, too. I’m talking like Aaron Schobel. They couldn’t get anywhere.”
Since then, Peters has qualified for nine Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro twice during his prolific career. When the Eagles traded a fourth- and first-round pick to acquire him from Buffalo in 2009, he was already widely regarded as the best left tackle in football. He has only furthered that narrative with his stellar play on the field.
“Jason Peters is the best left tackle in football,” former Eagles coach Andy Reid said after the trade. “He is a powerful and athletic tackle and I have admired his play over the last few years on film. I have always believed that success in the National Football League is derived from the strong play of the offensive and defensive lines.”
Peters, nicknamed “The Bodyguard,” has also impressed his many teammates and peers. Vinny Curry said “he’s automatically first-ballot Hall of Fame.” ESPN’s NFL writers confirmed that when they predicted he’ll make it in on his first try. He was the only unanimous selection on a recent panel choosing future Hall of Famers.
Another former teammate, Connor Barwin, said Peters was the toughest player he’s ever played against. Period. That includes in practice and in live games.
“Jason Peters, in practice,” Barwin told Heavy.com. “My last year in Philly I moved from the left to the right, which I probably shouldn’t have done career-wise, but I did it and it’s done. But the good part of it was I got to play against JP every day and it was a lot of fun. He’s excellent, Hall of Famer, best I ever played against. He’s an animal.”