- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Philadelphia Eagles still have a couple of weeks before they have to make a decision on the health status of left tackle Jason Peters. But in spite of tearing his Achilles tendon twice (and having it surgically repaired twice) this offseason, Peters has been doing running and agility drills this week and Eagles coach Andy Reid now says "there's a chance" Peters could play in 2012. Per Tim McManus:
Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs recently returned to the field just five months after suffering a similar injury. There is one key difference, however.
"You saw Suggs go through his thing. Now the difference is, Jason has had two of these," said Reid. "I'm not going to put him at risk, that's not what we're going to do. We're going to make sure the doctors are on board, that Jason is on board, and then we go from there. If he's physically able to be there, that's OK. But I'm not going to do anything to risk further injury to him."
So that's the context in which to view any Peters news the rest of the year: As long as there's no risk of a setback or further injury, the Eagles will continue to ease Peters back into shape in the hopes that he might be able to join them at some point this season. The difference he would make, if he could come back fully healthy, is nearly incalculable.
Everyone knows the Eagles' offensive line has struggled this season, and that the injury that cost them center Jason Kelce has been part of the problem as well. But the extent to which Peters' absence is being felt is thorough and extensive. His ability to take out a defensive end at the first level and quickly get upfield to block a linebacker or a safety at the second was a critical part of what LeSean McCoy and the Eagles were able to do in the run game last year. His absence is being felt in the screen game, as well, and of course in pass protection. Peters is an elite-level talent at his position, and King Dunlap and Demetress Bell have simply been insufficient replacements.
Even if Peters can come back, it doesn't sound as though it could possibly be much before December, if at all. But if the Eagles can hang in the race without him and he can return, the Eagles would surely benefit from picking up an all-pro talent at such a key position down the stretch.