The best seasons ever by Eagles 35 years old and up

The best seasons ever by Eagles 35 years old and up

As soon as he starts another game in an Eagles uniform, Jason Peters will become the oldest starter in Eagles history.

Peters, who rejoined the Eagles on Tuesday, was 37 years, 348 days old when he started at left tackle against the Seahawks in last year’s wild-card game.

That made him the 2nd-oldest starter in Eagles history, about a month younger than Hall of Famer Art Monk was in 1995 when he started his only game as an Eagle.

Here’s a look at the 10-oldest starters in Eagles history with their age on the day they made their final start as an Eagle, according to Pro Football Reference. Note that five of them — Monk, Lofton, Dent, Matson and Humphrey — are Hall of Famers:

Art Monk: 38 years, 19 days, Dec. 24, 1995, Eagles at Bears
Jason Peters: 37 years, 348 days, Jan. 5, 2020, Eagles vs. Seahawks
James Lofton: 37 years, 182 days, Jan. 3, 1994, Eagles at 49ers
Woody Peoples: 37 years, 162 days, Jan. 25, 1981, Eagles vs. Raiders [SB]
Roman Gabriel: 37 years, 58 days, Oct. 2, 1977, Eagles at Lions
Richard Dent: 37 years, 1 day, Dec. 14, 1997, Eagles at Falcons
Jeff Garcia: 36 years, 321 days, Jan. 13, 2007, Eagles at Saints
Ollie Matson: 36 years, 231 days, Dec. 18, 1966, Eagles at Washington Football Team
Chuck Bednarik: 36 years, 216 days, Dec. 3, 1961, Eagles at Steelers
Claude Humphrey: 36 years, 188 days, Jan. 3, 1981, Vikings at Eagles 

This got us wondering about the best seasons ever by Philadelphia Eagles 35 and older. Here’s what we came up with:

1. Irving Fryar, WR, 1997
Irv had the best year of his career in 1997 at the age of 35, with 86 catches, 1,316 yards and six touchdowns. He set an NFL record for most receiving yards ever by a player 35 or older, breaking the record of 1,109 set in 1991 by Drew Hill. The closest anybody has gotten since is Hall of Famer Cris Carter, another former Eagle, who had 1,274 yards in 2000. The only older Pro Bowl receiver in NFL history is Jerry Rice.

2. Chuck Bednarik, C-LB, 1960 
Bednarik made his eighth Pro Bowl in 1960 at the age of 35 and was a first-team all-pro, when he played both ways on the Eagles’ last championship team until 2017. He’s one of only 11 defensive players in NFL history to make 1st-team all-pro at 35 or older. Bednarik played two more years and in 1962 at 37 in his final season became the oldest full-time starter in franchise history.

3. Brian Dawkins, S, 2008
Dawk made his seventh and final Pro Bowl as an Eagle in 2008, when he was 35. He actually made two more as a Bronco when he was 36 and 38, but he’s the oldest defensive Pro Bowler in Eagles history. In 2008, playing much of the season as a hybrid linebacker-safety, he had three sacks, an interception, a career-high 11 tackles for loss and a career-high six forced fumbles — second-most in the league — as the Eagles reached the NFC Championship Game. 

4. Jim Ringo, C, 1967
The Hall of Famer spent most of his career with the Packers but finished his career with a Pro Bowl season for the 1967 Eagles at the age of 36. He’s the oldest position player in Eagles history to make a Pro Bowl and one of only nine centers in NFL history to make a Pro Bowl at 36 or older.

5. Jeff Garcia, QB, 2006
Garcia was 36 years, 323 days old when he made his last start as an Eagle, which made him about 7 1/2 months older than Roman Gabriel was in 1976 and made Garcia the oldest starting quarterback in Eagles history. Garcia went 5-1 with 10 TDs and 2 INTs and a 95.8 passer rating in place of injured Donovan McNabb down the stretch in 2006 and then became the oldest QB in Eagles history to win a playoff game when the Eagles beat the Giants in a wild-card game. Norm Van Brocklin had held that record when he won the 1960 NFL Championship Game at 34.

6. Bill Bergey, LB, 1980
Bergey had an outstanding final NFL season in 1980, starting all 16 games at 35 years playing linebacker for the No. 1 defense in the NFL and a team that went to the Super Bowl. Bergey and Chuck Bednarik are the only linebackers in Eagles history to start after their 35th birthday.

7. Pete Retzlaff, TE, 1966
He was 34 when he made his last Pro Bowl, but Retzlaff still had a pretty good year in 1966, his final year in the NFL. He caught 40 passes for 653 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games, leading the Eagles in all three categories and finishing among the top six tight ends in football in all three categories. To this day, only three tight ends have had more receiving yard in a season at 35 or older — Tony Gonzalez three times and Ben Watson and Shannon Sharpe once.

8. David Akers, PK, 2009
Akers made 32 of 37 field goals at 35 years old in 2009 and 32 of 38 a year later, making the Pro Bowl both years. He also made a Pro Bowl with the 49ers at 37 and is one of 23 players in NFL history to make three Pro Bowls after his 35th birthday. The 143 points he scored in 2010, his last year with the Eagles, are 7th-most in NFL history by a player 35 or over.

9. Bob Howard, CB, 1979
Howard spent the last two seasons of a 13-year career with the Eagles, and in his final season he had three interceptions, making him the oldest player in franchise history with three or more INTs in a season. 

10. Donnie Jones, P, 2017
At 35, Jones had a brilliant year during the Super Bowl season, averaging 45.3 yards per punt with a net of 40.6, which is 5th-best in franchise history, along with 21 punts inside the 20. 

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Doug Pederson hints at big role for Greg Ward Jr. with Eagles this season  

Doug Pederson hints at big role for Greg Ward Jr. with Eagles this season  

Greg Ward Jr. became a great story for the Eagles last season, when he began the year on the practice squad and ended up being their best receiver down the stretch. 

But is he more than a good story? 

Doug Pederson seems to think so. 

The one thing now as he goes into this season, he's in that rotation, in that starting mix for us,” Pederson said on a Zoom call with reporters Wednesday. “It's just a matter of him embracing every day, getting better. Being a former quarterback, he understands our offense. Being in our offense, he knows the concepts and the routes. He and Carson (Wentz) have a really good feel for one another.

“I think for him now it's just a matter of continuing to get better each and every day and putting in the work. We expect some really big things from Greg. He can also be a leader. He can be a leader of that group. Him and DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, these guys, they can be leaders now and mentors to these young players.

In one year’s time, Ward has gone from practice squad player to being a leader in a wide receiver room that includes three draft picks, an undrafted rookie and a second-year draft pick. 

Ward, 25, is technically in Year 4 of his NFL career but he didn’t get a chance to play until the 2019 season and even then he didn’t play until November. 

Ward finished last season with 28 catches for 254 yards and a game-winning touchdown in a huge contest against Washington. 

Maybe Ward will never become a star player in the NFL, but he’s sure-handed, dependable and earned the trust of his quarterback and coaching staff last season. 

If you look at the Eagles’ group of receivers, Ward is probably the top candidate to win the slot job. DeSean Jackson is going to be the starting Z receiver and at the X the Eagles have Alshon Jeffery and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. Rookie 1st-round pick Jalen Reagor is learning both outside spots. 

Eventually, could Reagor play in the slot? Absolutely. In fact, I’d love to see him in there because he’d bring an explosiveness to the position that Ward probably can’t offer. 

But Ward is going to play a lot in 2020. He’s going to have a chance to become more than a great story. 

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Eagles activate Jordan Mailata from Reserve/COVID-19 list

Eagles activate Jordan Mailata from Reserve/COVID-19 list

The entire Eagles roster will finally be back together on Thursday after the team activated Jordan Mailata from the Reserve/COVID-19 list. 

Mailata was the last remaining player on the list. And head coach Doug Pederson also returned to the NovaCare Complex yesterday after his positive COVID-19 test. 

Back on July 29, the Eagles placed Lane Johnson, Nathan Gerry and Mailata on the list. The Reserve/COVID-19 list is for players who either test positive for the coronavirus or who have been exposed to someone who has. Only Johnson publicly announced he contracted the virus. 

Gerry was activated on Aug. 9, Johnson on Aug. 11 and Mailata today. 

The Eagles have not put any other players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list since those original three back in July. 

This is a big season for Mailata, the 23-year-old former rugby player. He’s entering Year 3 in the NFL and has obviously been a project player. 

Earlier this offseason, offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland said he couldn’t give a real answer as to whether or not Mailata goes from project to legitimate backup in 2020, but he has seen some good signs. 

“I can say this: In the meetings that we have, the virtual meetings, he was a completely different guy in the meetings,” Stoutland said. “And, you’re going to say, ‘What do you mean by that?’ His confidence level. Because we require these guys to know a lot and to be able to convert blocking schemes and calls. Completely, completely different in the meeting. 

“Now, will that carry over to the field? Every morning when I come here I pray that’s what will happen. Do I think that will happen? Absolutely. But I can’t guarantee that. We’re going to find out, though. That’s what this is all about. And if it does carry over then we got action. We’re going to be in good shape.”

While Mailata missed over two weeks, he missed just one practice day. The Eagles were finally allowed to practice on Aug. 12. So Mailata will get the rest of the non-padded practices under his belt before the pads come on next Monday. 

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