After finishing the first training camp practice of his 15th NFL season Thursday, Jason Peters didn't immediately rush off to the locker room to escape the hot July sun and rest his surgically-repaired right knee.

First, he went over and spent about 15 minutes tutoring three of the Eagles' young offensive linemen: Toby Weathersby, Matt Pryor, and Jordan Mailata.

"It's just something I like doing,'' said the nine-time Pro Bowl player. "Guys ask me why I still play. I just love doing this. It ain't a job to me. It's just fun.''

The young players were grateful for a blocking lesson from the man affectionately known in the Eagles locker room as The Godfather.

"It's a great feeling to know that JP is willing, after a long practice, to take the time out just to work with us and teach us what he knows and what he sees us doing and correcting us,'' said Weathersby, an undrafted free agent out of LSU.

"We're really lucky, especially myself, being able to learn from one of the best tackles in the league and maybe one of the best tackles who ever played,'' said Mailata, an Australian rugby player who is learning football from scratch.

"JP really knows his stuff. He's a coach on the field. He's been in the league so long. He's been with this team so long.''

This is Peters' 10th season with the Eagles. A lot of people thought No. 9 would be his swan song after he tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee against the Redskins last October.

But there he was Thursday, lining up at left tackle with the rest of the Eagles' first-team offense, looking as spry as ever.

"They been saying I been done since '12 or '13,'' Peters said. "But I just keep showing up. It ain't nothing but motivation when they keep saying, 'You gotta get rid of Peters. This is his last year.' It ain't no big deal to me.''

"He's a freak of nature, man,'' right tackle Lane Johnson said of his 36-year-old friend and linemate. "There's not many humans like him on the planet Earth. It's just fun to watch him; fun to be a witness to.''

Before practice started, Eagles coach Doug Pederson walked up to Peters and gave him a big hug. "He just said, 'It's good to have you back, old man.''' Peters said. "I just started laughing."

Last season, Peters was just one of several key Eagles starters that suffered season-ending injuries during the team's Super Bowl run. Others included quarterback Carson Wentz (torn ACL), middle linebacker Jordan Hicks (ruptured Achilles tendon), running back Darren Sproles (torn ACL), and special teams ace Chris Maragos (torn ACL and PCL).

Peters, Wentz, Hicks, and Maragos all stayed in Philadelphia, rehabbed at the NovaCare Complex and served as a support staff for the coaches.

Peters helped tutor his replacement at left tackle, Halapoulivaati Vaitai.

"We have a culture around here,'' Peters said. "When we got hurt, the next guy knew how hard we worked and he worked just as hard. Knowing V, I stayed in his ear. Wentz stayed in (Nick) Foles' ear. We just rallied around each other and helped the guys that took our spots.

"It made us closer. It made us understand each other better. When you're with somebody every day and you're grinding with them, you learn stuff about them.''

Jason Peters, pictured at the Eagles’ mandatory three-day minicamp back in June, said Thursday that he hasn’t thought about retirement just yet.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Jason Peters, pictured at the Eagles’ mandatory three-day minicamp back in June, said Thursday that he hasn’t thought about retirement just yet.

Peters said retirement never entered his mind after he got hurt last year. Much like the 35-year-old Sproles, he was determined to come back. He did not want to end his career as a spectator.

"When I hurt my knee, I just knew I had to get back on the field,'' Peters said. "Because I wasn't going to go out like that. Right now, I'm nine months out (from the injury). I'm still working myself back into it. The doc said (it would take) a year or so. But I don't listen to that stuff.

"When I got hurt, all I was thinking was, you know what? This happened for a reason. If I knew blowing my knee out would get me a (Super Bowl) ring, I would've done it a long time ago.''

Prior to his injury last year, Peters' practice snaps were limited by Pederson and offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland. They will do the same this season.

There is no need for a five-time all-pro who almost certainly will be going into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility to be doing slide drills in practice. Everything will be geared toward getting him to Sunday, rested and ready.

Peters still was playing at a high level before his injury, and Stoutland expects him to continue to play at a high level this season.

"I always believed he'd be back,'' Stoutland said. "He's a special, special player. Guys like him don't come around very often.''

Johnson carried Peters' No. 71 jersey as he ran out of the tunnel at Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis. Peters was given the honor of carrying the Lombardi Trophy into the room at the Eagles' after party following their 41-33 win over the Patriots.

That's how much he is loved by his teammates and by the organization.

Sproles already has said 2018 will be his final season. Peters, though, isn't ready to go there.

"Sproles said that; those aren't my words,'' he said. "I'm year to year. I love the game. They're going to have to kick me out for me to leave. I'm gonna bring it. I'm gonna bring it every year.

"Coming off an injury, you're just trying to make sure you're still playing at a high level. And that's what I'm going to try to do this year.''

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