They doubted whether Jason Peters could recover after twice rupturing and undergoing surgery on his Achilles tendon in 2012. He did, paving the way for a LeSean McCoy rushing title the very next year.
They questioned whether Peters would return to form after an injury-riddled 2015 campaign in which he reportedly removed himself from multiple games. He did that too, allowing only two sacks the entire following season.
They debated more times than not over the last seven offseasons whether Peters might be a cap casualty. He always survives, currently the longest tenured player on the roster with 10 seasons in midnight green.
When will They learn not to give up on Jason Peters?
Yet here we are in 2019, with Peters back in the usual boat. Major surgery for a torn ACL in 2017? Check. Injury-plagued season with numerous early exits in 2018? Check. Rampant and ongoing speculation about the Eagles potentially releasing their left tackle to save money? Goes without saying.
This time is different, They will tell you. Peters is 37 and his body will betray him sooner rather than later. Though more than serviceable last season, it was the first in which he was healthy and missed the Pro Bowl since 2007 — healthy being a relative term, seeing as he was in and out of the lineup all year. And the cap-strapped Eagles can save $10.5 million via Peters’ departure, so these are all things a fiscally responsible organization should probably consider.
The day will come soon when the Eagles need to move on.
Just not today. If Peters’ Hall of Fame career taught us anything, it’s that he can come back from this, too.
Peters was only 10 months removed from knee surgery at the beginning of last season, his rehab limiting his participation pretty much all the way up to Week 1. Compare that to the nearly 18 months he had to recover from Achilles surgeries, plus the benefit of a full training camp in '13.
And while nagging injuries were an issue, forcing Peters to miss significant time in at least six games, he managed to dress for all 18 contests, playing roughly 80 percent of offensive snaps. His 80 percent was still better than most left tackles in the NFL last season.
As for the money, we could debate the $13.1 million cap hit for 2019 — 10th among left tackles — but simply put, if the Eagles part with Peters, who’s taking his place?
The Eagles have been at this crossroads with Peters before. Twice, he’s risen from the grave his critics dug prematurely, responding with elite seasons.
Peters is older now, with a longer medical history and higher price tag. Perhaps it truly is all downhill from here, and he’ll never recapture his dominant ability, will continue to be increasingly sidelined and either needs to restructure his contract or flat-out will not be worth the money.
But looking back on all those other times They’ve left him for dead, are you really prepared to bet against Peters again?
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.