Jason Peters didn’t just come back. He came back as good as ever.
On Friday night, a year and a half after his second Achilles surgery, Peters was named to his sixth Pro Bowl team (see story).
Peters made the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2008 with the Bills and 2009, 2010 and 2011 with the Eagles before missing all of last year as he tried to return to form after blowing out his Achilles twice in the spring of 2012.
At 31 years old and standing 345 pounds, it was anything but routine.
“Coming off two Achilles surgeries, and I was kind of banged up a little bit earlier in the year, it’s definitely my best one yet,” Peters said.
“This is really special. Two Achilles surgeries, people thought I wasn’t going to even be able to play football again -- the doctors -- especially after the second one. They didn’t think I was going to be able to play at a high level. They maybe thought that I could come back and play, but not at a high level.
“I never took it for granted. Every year, I try to work to make the Pro Bowl. And I just know, if I’m working to make the Pro Bowl, the team is going to succeed. If I’m playing good, the guys beside me are playing good and as a team we’re going to play good.
“So anytime you make the Pro Bowl, you have other players around you that’s going to be playing good as well.”
Peters missed part of the Green Bay game earlier this year with an assortment of nagging injuries, but he’s still played 952 of a possible 1,037 snaps this year, or 92 percent.
Peters and NFL rushing leader LeSean McCoy were the only Eagles named to the 2014 NFL Pro Bowl team.
“I know he’s happy because he kept calling me,” McCoy said Friday night. “‘Hey, have they called you yet? Do you know what’s going on?’
“I’m like, ‘No, man. I don’t know.’ This is the first year he’s acted like that, so this is big for him. I know it is. He kept asking me, ‘Do you know who made it?’ He kept calling me and he never does that.”
The Eagles are second in the NFL with 421 yards per game, first with 162 rushing yards per game and second with 27.9 points per game.
With a win over the Cowboys Sunday night in Dallas, the Eagles will reach the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
“I think it’s a confidence booster,” McCoy said of Peters. “You get banged up and you get hurt, some people kind of write you off. It shows you the hard work and dedication to get back healthy and be the dominant player he once was and still is.
“I’m happy for him. He’s an unbelievable talent and a great teammate and a great person. He deserves it.”
Although Peters was selected to the Pro Bowl team, linemates Evan Mathis and Jason Kelce were snubbed.
In fact, right guard Todd Herremans Friday night tweeted as much, adding DeMeco Ryans and Trent Cole to his snub list:
— The Toddfather (@toddherremans) December 28, 2013
Only three undrafted offensive linemen in history have been selected to more Pro Bowls: Hall of Famers Jim Otto (12) and Lou Groza (nine but mainly as a kicker) and Jay Hilgenberg (seven).
“He’s by far the best lineman I’ve ever played with in my career, from high school to college to the pros,” McCoy said. “He’s a combination of speed, power, intelligence, you name it. The guy is terrific. I’m happy to play with him. I feel like he makes my job a lot easier.”