Some highlights include ...
The Eagles o-line eating a ton of food
Most often the group dines downtown at Del Frisco’s Steak House, where their standard order of shared appetizers includes two tuna tartars, three fried calamaris, three cheesesteak dumplings, three lobster mac and cheeses, two creamed corns, three château mashed potatoes, two asparaguses, several shrimp cocktails and (sometimes) one seafood tower. After that, everyone digs into either a 22-ounce prime rib eye or a 32-ounce tomahawk—everyone, that is, except Wisniewski, who’s been known to house both.
And I thought I was able to eat a lot ...
Lane Johnson being the class clown
Clearly canines had been on Johnson’s mind. A week or so earlier, Stoutland had gotten fired up and motioned to his favorite phrase . . . which he’d evidently not looked at in some time. Johnson had made one minor alteration. Now the whiteboard read: HORNY DOGS RUN FASTER.
Lane making a BDN reference
BROOKS: It was even sweeter because Brady had dropped his pass.
WISNIEWSKI: It worried me when Brady did it. I was like, Ah crap, their defense has seen this play before.
JOHNSON: Oh, they’ve seen it before.
KELCE: We’re happy it worked.
JOHNSON: Nick’s got big hands.
The group groans. They’ve heard this one before.
Jason Peters being a legend
But the first lineman to speak was Peters. Of course. “The alpha dog,” says Stoutland. “The godfather,” says Wisniewski. The 36-year-old Peters has made the Pro Bowl nine times and is among the league’s most respected linemen, in part for his caring presence. When Stoutland’s dog died in late 2016, for instance, Peters gifted him with a pigskin-sized Shih Tzu. (Stoutland took the puppy home and named him Oliver, or Olie. As in O-line.) Which helps explains the scene in Week 7 last year, against the Redskins, when the entire Eagles sideline flocked onto the field, encircling a medical cart, after Peters went down with a torn ACL and MCL. Peters remembers “grabbing my leg, making sure the bone was still in my skin.” But Wisniewski remembers more what happened next, how his fallen teammate dispatched advice to his replacement, Big V, from the back of the medical cart: “I was like, this dude is a beast.”
I don’t think everyone fully understands how much respect there is for Peters inside the Eagles’ organization. He’s a living legend.
Peters also keeping it real
Their collective profile has risen. Restaurant owners toss them free meals. Fans approach with picture requests over dinner. “Most offensive linemen are not hounded in public,” Kelce says. “But Philly is such a blue-collar, hard-nosed city; they appreciate us.” Still, fame is fickle, especially in Philadelphia. “[These fans] are passionate,” Peters says. “Come to the first game. If we’re not up 20, we might get booed.”
It’s funny because it’s true.
The big men have earned the right to beef. Kelce slips in a sly shot at New England over dinner: “The last defense we had seen was Minnesota’s, and we were like, ‘These dudes have got some players.’ Then we see [the Patriots] and we’re like, ‘These dudes have got some . . . coaches.’ ” And Peters, a Dallas native, takes a crack at the division-rival Cowboys: “[People there tell me,] ‘Y’all got lucky.’ I just say, ‘Too bad y’all haven’t been lucky in 20-something years.’ ”
Just tremendous stuff all around. The Eagles’ offensive line isn’t just a collection of players that combines to be the best blocking unit in the NFL. It’s also a group of unique characters that have the ability to work together to achieve special goals.
In addition to their article, Sports Illustrated also recorded a 28-minute video with the Eagles o-line that you can watch on SI TV. Here’s a teaser clip.