LAKE FOREST – He’s already had a career to remember in the National Football League, but he wasn’t quite ready to call it quits yet.
Jason Peters, a nine-time Pro Bowler who was one of the best offensive lineman in the 2010s, was still working out this offseason as he normally would despite not having a team. He’d spent the last 12 seasons with the Eagles, where he was arguably the best left tackle in football for a time, but his run in Philadelphia ended after the 2020 season.
Still, Peters was looking for one more opportunity before hanging it up.
“I told the coaches and GMs and stuff over in Philly that I was going to go another year,” said Peters on Tuesday at Halas Hall. “Just depend on the right situation, but I wasn’t retiring after last season.”
That right fit came in Chicago and Peters signed a deal with the Bears before their first preseason game with Buffalo. For one, the team is in need of tackle help with both starters gone from 2020 and one expected starter, Teven Jenkins, out with back surgery.
Another was Peters’ familiarity with head coach Matt Nagy and offensive line coach Juan Castillo, both of who he knew from his days in Philadelphia.
“I know all the coaches, pretty much, and the staff and stuff. They know me and they know what I can do,” said Peters, who said he got the call about the Bears’ opportunity from Castillo while fishing.
So with one more shot in the league as he desired, Peters now enters into the race to start at tackle in 2021 for the Bears as the offense finally looks for consistency after two difficult years. He’ll block initially for Andy Dalton but at some point could do that for first round pick Justin Fields, who is currently the backup.
Mentoring younger lineman is a goal Peters has for this upcoming season and he said he wouldn’t mind being in a backup role for the Bears. Priorities are pretty simple for the tackle as he prepares for his 18th NFL season.
“I really don’t have nothing to prove, I just want to win, get another ring, to be honest,” said Peters. “I was talking to Juan yesterday, the Pro Bowl stuff, I got plenty of those, All-Pros, all the accolades. The biggest one for me know if Super Bowl. I got one, I would like another one here with the Chicago Bears.”
Should he do that, Peters would be 40 years old on “Super Sunday,” but as he starts competing for a spot on the offensive line one last time at 39 years old, the veteran believes he’s still got something left.
“I fell good, I’ve still got my quicks, my strength, and like I said, just get my legs up under me, because you know, the guys started in April, and they’ve got that big of a head start on me,” said Peters.
But it’s safe to say that he’s got experience on his side.