Eagles

Jason Peters says he'll 'be back better than ever'

Jason Peters says he'll 'be back better than ever'

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Jason Peters is finally at the Super Bowl. 

He wants to play in it next year. 

The 36-year-old left tackle is in Minnesota this week but, because of a knee injury, has been relegated to spectator and support system for his teammates. But he's already rehabbing and plans to play again next season. 

"I'm definitely not going out like that," Peters said on Monday night. "I'll be back better than ever." 

Wearing cool shades inside the Xcel Energy Center and sporting his trademark clean beard for the media night circus, Peters spoke publicly for the first time since he tore his ACL and MCL against Washington on Oct. 23. 

The Eagles lost Peters back in October the same day they also lost middle linebacker Jordan Hicks. Since then, the team also lost Carson Wentz but has continued to roll and is now playing in the Super Bowl in just a few days. He's enjoyed watching his teammates find success and celebrate it. 

As for himself, Peters said he's never had any doubts about returning to play again. 

"That ain't how I'm built," Peters explained. "That ain't how I'm built and I just take it and anytime I get injured, I take it like it was meant to happen to me and I take it and roll with it."

Even though Peters can't play in Sunday's Super Bowl, he said getting to this point is still a "dream come true." Peters has played in three career playoff games and has suffered three losses. He spoke openly last season about hoping the Eagles would be able to play for a championship before his career was over. 

On Monday night, Peters called himself "year to year" but said he'll definitely be back for the 2018 season; he expects to be ready for the start of the season. Even though Halapoulivaati Vaitai has played well in his absence, Peters was playing at a Pro Bowl level before the injury and will likely one day be enshrined in Canton. He's under contract for two more seasons. 

Really, a lot of Vaitai's success can probably be attributed to Peters, who has been coaching him from the moment his own season ended in October. Peters said Vaitai is a great player who just needs to keep his confidence high. 

"I embraced [my new role] it as soon as I went down," Peters said. "I knew I was going to have to help Big V and Lane (Johnson) and everybody to stick together and that's what I've been doing. So far, so good."

When asked if coaching is in his future, Peters said he wasn't sure. He'll have to see when he gets to that point. 

For now, though, he's focused on his rehab and playing again next season. The Eagles' talent and success this season have certainly rejuvenated the 36-year-old.  

"Of course," he said. "We're in the Super Bowl and hopefully we can make another run for it. First we gotta take care of this one and get a W."

Eagles Stay or Go — A few easy choices for once

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USA Today Images

Eagles Stay or Go — A few easy choices for once

Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro continue our series examining the future of the world champion Eagles.

Mack Hollins
Roob: Hollins wasn't really a factor later in the season, once Torrey Smith got going, but he did show early in the year what kind of player he can be, notably with that 64-yard TD catch in the second Redskins game. Depending on what the Eagles do about Smith, Hollins should be either the Eagles' third or fourth receiver this fall. Either way, he'll be here, and I expect him to make a big jump in Year 2.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Hollins caught just 16 passes as a rookie and it seemed like he just never started producing the way he seems capable of. Even when Smith struggled, Hollins got more playing time and didn't produce. The good news is he's still young and plays a role on special teams. The Eagles will probably bolster their receiving corps in some way, but if they don't, Hollins will have a shot at starting if Smith is gone next season. 

Verdict: STAYS

Alshon Jeffery
Roob: Jeffery really played better than his stats this year. He made every big catch, caught every big third-down pass, made huge plays in the end zone. Jeffery was a star receiver without a star receiver's stats. His unselfish attitude carried over to the rest of the receivers and throughout the roster. And he did it all with a rotator cuff injury that required post-season surgery. Can't wait to see what Alshon can do healthy.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Jeffery didn't put up eye-popping numbers during the regular season, but if you needed any proof he's a No. 1 receiver, go back and watch Super Bowl LII, when he made that ridiculous catch in the end zone for a huge touchdown. The good thing about Jeffery is he really doesn't care at all about his numbers. There are a lot of diva receivers in the NFL, but Jeffery clearly isn't one of them. All he cared about last year was hoisting the Lombardi Trophy and he certainly helped get the Eagles there. 

Verdict: STAYS

Malcolm Jenkins
Roob: Jenkins has so many roles on and off the field -- community activist, NFLPA organizer, locker room leader -- it's easy to forget just how good a player he is. Jenkins has been here four years and has had four very solid, very consistent, very productive seasons. He made his second Pro Bowl this year and joined Bill Bradley (3) and Dawk (7) as only the third Eagles safety since 1960 to make multiple Pro Bowls. Jenkins is signed to a cap-friendly deal through 2020 and should be an Eagle for many years to come.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: As important as Jenkins is to the Eagles as a safety and defensive back, you could make a legitimate argument that he's even more important to the team as a leader and man. There's a reason he became the guy to follow up Doug Pederson's postgame speeches. He isn't just the leader of the defense; he's the leader of the entire team. And on the field, he's still playing at a really high, Pro Bowl caliber, level. He's 30 now but is still signed through 2020 and maybe outside of Fletcher Cox is the Eagles' most important defensive player. 

Verdict: STAYS

Eagles Stay or Go — 2 young linebackers

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Eagles Stay or Go — 2 young linebackers

Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro continue our series examining the future of the world champion Eagles.

Darrell Greene
Roob: The Hall of Fame cornerback is now 58 years old and 21 years removed from his last Pro Bowl season with the Redskins. Oh wait … wrong Darrell Green. This is Darrell GREENE, and he's a 6-foot-3, 320-pound guard out of San Diego State who's been on the Eagles' practice squad most of the last two years. The Eagles liked Greene enough to keep him around the last couple years, and unless they see something in Chance Warmack that I missed, Greene has a chance to stick around as a young O-line prospect.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Greene has been around now for the last two seasons. He was without a team for most of 2017; the Eagles didn't bring him back to the practice squad until December. The offensive guard had some real potential coming out of San Diego State, and the Eagles paid him a lot of guaranteed money to sign as an undrafted free agent before 2016. But he's never really impressed them enough to stick around for good. 

Verdict: GOES

Jordan Hicks
Roob: With Hicks, it's always about durability, not ability. Hicks has played more than half a season only once in his three NFL seasons, and since he's under contract for 2018 with a modest $2.068 million cap figure, he's obviously not going anywhere. The question is what the Eagles do with him after 2018 when he's due to become a free agent. Hicks can play. We all know that. He needs to prove this year that he can stay healthy in order to get a big-money deal a year from now.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Losing Hicks was a problem in 2017 and his absence started showing up late in the season. He's a big-time playmaker. It's a shame he got hurt last year because if he didn't, he'd be in line for a payday. For now, he'll be back in the final year of his four-year rookie contract until he can prove he's the same player he was pre-injury. 

Verdict: STAYS

Kamu Grugier-Hill
Roob: Grugier-Hill must be Howie Roseman's dream. He's signed at the minimum through 2019 but is an awfully valuable member of the roster — a reserve linebacker and emergency kicker and maybe the team's best special teamer. Kamu's not going anywhere.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: He really doesn't play at all as a linebacker, but Grugier-Hill has become one of the best special teams players in the NFL and had a real chance to be named a Pro Bowler in 2017. He led the team in special teams tackles with 19 last season. He's still young, cheap and is a big part of Dave Fipp's group. 

Verdict: STAYS