DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer
FRISCO, Texas — If you open your nearest window and listen closely you’ll hear the sound of dishes and furniture being thrown in Philadelphia, and for one reason in particular. Jason Peters, the former longtime all-world left tackle of the Eagles has now signed with the Dallas Cowboys after spending 11 of his previous 12 NFL seasons in Eastern Pennsylvania – battling the Cowboys tooth and nail.
The deal became official on Labor Day, just ahead of practice, and the six-time All-Pro explained how things went from him once voicing his displeasure for the “arrogant” Cowboys to readying to suit up for them in 2022.
“Man, I don’t really call it arrogance,” Peters explained. ” I mean, they had swagger – pretty much the same thing. The swagger, they’ll go in week in and week out with that swagger, you can tell how the defense plays. Dak and Zeke, scoring and everybody [wearing] their emotions on their shoulders. I mean I like that to be honest.
“That’s how we did it in Philly and that’s how we’re going to do it here.”
Of course, there will be some who view that as a backpedal worthy of the defensive back room, but it’s neither here nor there in the grand scheme of NFL players who once believed they’d never strap on the helmet of any particular club before, later in their career, doing just that.
Just ask Brett Favre, as one example of many.
As for Peters, a native of East Texas who is seeing his football career come full circle in 2022, the union with his once-bitter rival is a special one that also keeps him near his loved ones.
“I’m excited,” said the nine-time Pro Bowler. “This is my home state, so it’s good to be back playing amongst family every week.”
That said, he readily admits playing in Cowboys colors will take a moment to get accustomed to, but also that he chose Dallas over several other clubs that came calling this offseason.
“Umm, yeah, a little bit. Like I said, that was our rivalry,” said Peters. “You know the Dallas and Eagle rivalry goes deep so it’s kind of weird but I’m here in my home state and ready to roll. … I had a few opportunities with some teams but like I was telling my agent, they like to go youth over age so I was just weighing my options and then when this came up, my home state, I couldn’t pass it up.
“To play for the Cowboys – two hours from my hometown. “
Well, he’s almost ready to roll, but not quite.
The 40-year-old hasn’t played a down of football since early January for the Bears, and that includes having participated in no one’s training camp this summer, so it stands to reason he’ll need time to acclimate to the Cowboys scheme and to reacclimate himself to the rigors of regular season football.
This is why he was signed to the practice squad, the team releasing rookie defensive end Mika Tafua to make room, as opposed to being added to the active roster for the Week 1 matchup against the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“As far as [being in] shape goes, I’ve just been doing cardio and lifting,” said Peters of his offseason regimen. ” You can’t really get in football shape until you put the pads and helmet on, so that’s what I’m going to be doing the first couple of weeks.”
So what is the endgame here? Is it one that will see a potential future Hall of Famer who started in 15 games last season acquiescing to potentially playing backup to a rookie first-round pick – i.e., Tyler Smith – at the tackle position until/unless his number is called, also mentoring said rookie in the process??
Yes, that is exactly the plan, and it’s one Peters is completely onboard with; having already begun the process of coaching Smith in their very first practice together.
“Just the grit, finishing plays, technique, knowing what to do and playing fast,” said Peters of what he’s looking to impart upon Smith, taking the tally of potential Hall of Fame tackles tutoring the rookie to two (Tyron Smith being the other). “Keep your nose clean and stuff on and off the field – I’m going to help him out. I helped him a little bit today, just trying to get his technique and all that stuff in rhythm.”
It’s quite literally the perfect situation for the Cowboys in that they now have their future franchise left tackle debuting back at left tackle – having been moved to guard for the entirety of training camp – while gleaning technique and the nuances of how to dominate at the NFL level from two of the best who’ve ever strapped on a helmet.
“Peters is a dog,” said All-Pro pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence. “Glad to have him over here with us. … It was some good battles [against him]. Glad he’s over here now.”
If Smith (and others like rookie fifth-round pick Matt Waletzko, who so graciously gave up his No. 71 to an incoming Peters) can absorb it all and put it into play on a weekly basis, it’s possible he’ll have a very long and productive career, something Peters would love to see happen as he enters his 18th season in the league.
“[I’m] just trying to set the bar for the up-and-coming youth,” he said. “If you love the game and want to keep playing, I’m just showing them you can do it instead of letting the league run you out. I’m a living testimony that you can keep going. Me and Tom [Brady], we’re just setting the bar.”
So what exactly did owner and general manager Jerry Jones – an alum, former championship-winning player and super-donor of the very same University of Arkansas that produced Peters – use as the definitive sales pitch to get such a longtime and vocal rival to take up his cause in Dallas?
“Uhh, go Hogs,” said Peters while wearing a large grin.
And now he is hoping to help bring home the bacon for the Cowboys in 2022.
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DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer