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After his first live practice in a year and a half, Jason Peters pronounced himself healthy and ready to once again be the best offensive tackle in the NFL.
“I’m 100 percent, ready to go,” Peters said after the Eagles’ first full-team practice of Chip Kelly’s first training camp at the NovaCare Complex.
“I’m full tilt. There ain’t no moderating it. That’s the way I’m going to go. The doctor said there aren’t any limits. It doesn’t even get sore.”
Despite suffering one of the most serious injuries a big man can suffer, the 6-foot-4, 330-pound Peters said it never occurred to him that he wouldn’t be back in time for the start of 2013 training camp.
“No doubt,” he said. “I worked hard, I rehabbed hard, and no doubt that I was going to be back Day 1 of training camp."
Peters, one of only three offensive linemen to go to every Pro Bowl from 2007 through 2011, missed all of last year after twice blowing out his Achilles.
About 30 percent of NFL players who’ve suffered the injury Peters suffered never played again in the NFL.
“I heard that,” Peters said. “That’s what made me rehab it so hard.”
Asked whether he can once again be the player considered the game’s best offensive tackle, Peters didn’t hesitate to answer.
“I am that player,” he said. “I don’t step out there and don’t play any less than 100 percent. But that’s not even my goal. My goal is to win the division and get into the playoffs and go deep.
“I was just anxious to get out here. Felt good OTAs, Day 1 of training camp felt good, now I’m just waiting for the first game.”
Kelly knows that the success rate of Achilles surgeries with pro athletes is not great. Especially football players and especially linemen.
But he also knows that Peters is not a typical patient.
"I don't think there is a player like him in the world, to be honest with you," he said. "Someone that big, that fast, that athletic. I catch myself in practice just going, 'Wow.' He's 350 pounds, and he runs like he's a tight end. I think he's an exception to every rule. I don't think [it makes sense to] study guys that have had Achilles injuries and saying, 'Hey, that guy would be like Jason.'
"We kind of, as a staff, look at each other all the time when he does something. We just kind of look [and say], 'Wow.' He's a pretty amazing athlete for a guy that size."
Everybody on the Eagles' offensive line was hurt to some extent last year, and Peters, Todd Herremans, Jason Kelce and Evan Mathis all underwent some sort of offseason surgery.
But they were all back out there Friday.
“The first day is always the roughest day,” Peters said. “It’s going to take a couple days to get used to all the stuff we’re doing, but it was a good first day.
“I’m just glad to be back out after missing a year. Felt good today. A little rusty but that’s why you go to training camp. I’m going to work on it every day and try to get better.”
Asked where he’s rusty, Peters said, “My footwork. To me. You might not see it, but when I watch film, I critique myself hard, and I feel a little rusty.”
Peters said the mental aspect of missing a full season and not playing any football since December of 2011 never played on his mind.
He said he didn’t let it.
“It was just a mind deal,” he said. “Sometimes guys hurt themselves and it plays on them. I just rehabbed full tilt.”
What about his offseason speeding ticket?
Peters was arrested and handcuffed in Louisiana in June and charged with drag racing and other offenses, but the charges were eventually reduced to a defective muffler, Peters paid a $656.50 fine and all the other charges were dismissed.
“It wasn’t anything major,” he said. “It was a ticket, they dropped it, threw it out. Now it’s time to play ball.”
Cornerback Cary Williams left practice fairly early with a hamstring strain. He said he’s day-to-day but could miss a day or two. Curtis Marsh practiced with the first defense in his place.
Wide receiver Arrelious Benn suffered a left leg injury and was being evaluated after practice. The Eagles had no additional information on his status.
Play of the day
DeSean Jackson made an acrobatic leaping catch on the right sideline of a 40-yard Nick Foles pass during 7-on-7 drills.
Jackson skied high above cornerback Bradley Fletcher and landed hard but held onto the ball.
Quote of the day
"To be honest with you, if I called 20 read options with Nick Foles in the game, you should fire me."
Did you know?
With Williams out, the Eagles’ first-team nickel consisted of Brandon Boykin, Nate Allen, Patrick Chung, Marsh and Fletcher.
The Eagles are scheduled to practice again Saturday at the NovaCare Complex. The workout is open only to a small number of pre-selected season ticket holders.
On Sunday, the Eagles will practice at the Linc. About 65,000 free tickets have already been distributed, and no more are available.
The next open practice at the Linc is scheduled for Aug. 5.