Sometimes I feel like Jason Peters is underappreciated.
Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes the things I read and hear make me wonder.
In any case, I feel the need to point out the greatness of JP. And that’s exactly what I’ll do today in sharing this great story from Ross Tucker on the Eagle Eye In The Sky Podcast.
Tucker, now a media personality, is a former NFL offensive lineman who was on the Bills when Peters was a rookie in 2004. Tucker talked about his first impressions of Peters.
And I can tell you, the first thing that just stood out to him, obviously, was — we all know how big Jason is. Picture that guy playing tight end. He played tight end at that size at Arkansas. That’s the type of athlete that he was. He went undrafted. And I don’t know if he had off-the-field issues or it was the concern about the position [he was going to play in the NFL or what. He was an undrafted free agent and I could tell you a bunch of stories.
Number one, he just stood out like a sore thumb with the tight end position group because he’s 70 pounds heavier than the rest of them. But then I remember distinctly being in the hotel about a week before final cuts, and this is back when the first cut went down to 65. And he was cut. Just hanging out in the hotel. I said: “What’s the deal?” He goes: “They’re going to put me on the practice squad.”
So they cut him at the cut down to 65 because they needed guys at other positions for the final preseason game. So he wasn’t practicing with us, he didn’t play in the final preseason game, but he was sticking around because they already told him they were going to put him on the practice squad. Which, back then, in 2004, he was kind of the ideal practice squad guy because you saw that there was just a unique combination of size, speed, athleticism there. You just weren’t sure really what to do about it.
So he was [on the] practice squad for about the first half of the year. And then they decide to put him up on the active roster, primarily for special teams and get his feet wet a little bit with getting some time. So he became like a goal line, short-yardage tight end. Which the blocking part of that came really easy for him. For him, it was really just the mental part of how complicated the NFL was that slowed him down.
You’ve gotta go back and look at some games from ’04, man. First of all, he was running down on the kickoff team at 320 pounds. Second of all, like watch the Bengals game. I don’t know if he was wearing number 80-something, maybe number 90-something, but the Bengals game from 2004, he blocks a punt in Cincinnati and then scoops it up and recovers it in the end zone for a touchdown. Like, what future offensive lineman is running down on kickoffs [and] blocking punts and taking it in for a touchdown? That would be awesome footage if you guys could dig that one up for Eagles fans, who would love that. I know Jason probably would get a kick out of that as well.
Oh man, I definitely wanna see that footage. UPDATE: You can watch it at the very end of the video below (go to the 14:20 mark)
(And then watch the rest at the start of this separate video)
A 320-pound dude covering kickoffs and blocking punts? That’s simply unheard of.
But that’s not even the best story Tucker had to tell. Check out this amazing anecdote about how Peters ended up switching from tight end to the offensive line.
In terms of him moving to the offensive line, though? I’ll never forget that day for the rest of my life. I have a bunch of people that sign up to get my emails over at RossTucker.com and I usually tell them stories about me. The most recent one was this story that I’m about to tell you.
Which is that, there was a day — maybe November, maybe even December — and you know what? Let’s have Jason go down for one-on-ones with the offensive line. And just see how he does. Put him at tackle and see how he does. Maybe we’ll transition him to offensive line.
Dude. You’ve never seen anything like it in your life. Right away, nobody could beat him. Nobody. Our best pass rushers, Aaron Schobel, Jeff Posey, guys that were pretty darn good, Ryan Denney, they couldn’t even get close to beating him. He was so long, had such good feet, was able to sink his hips so well, was so strong … I mean I remember sitting there, I don’t remember if I threw my helmet, but I was thinking “I’ve been working on this every day since sixth grade. This guy, in six seconds, is already light years better than I ever was.” It was the darnedest thing I’ve ever saw. I’ve never seen a guy that good that quickly. And of course, that’s why he’s probably going to the Hall of Fame some day. At least, he should.
JP is a legend, plain and simple. He instantly went from being this undrafted kid without a defined role to one of the best players to play the game at one of the sport’s most important positions. Just incredible.
It’s very easy to take offensive linemen for granted. Usually you shouldn’t be hearing about them too much if they’re doing their jobs well.
JP is not a player to take for granted. He’s a legend and a future of Hall of Famer. If there’s anyone who can defy age and play longer than expected, it’s him. Here’s hoping the Eagles can get a ring for him before he hangs it up for good.