PHILADELPHIA - Eagles left tackle Jason Peters normally doesn't get too excited about preseason games.
Like most veterans, the six-time Pro Bowler regards them as a necessary evil, a way to get in sync with his fellow offensive linemen and work on a few techniques in preparation for the regular season.
Saturday's game at Jacksonville is different. The contest against the Jaguars will mark the first time Peters has played against another team since 2011 regular-season finale against Washington.
"It's been a long time," Peters said Saturday. "I'm excited and I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to have to work to keep myself calm."
The 10-year veteran missed all of last season after rupturing his Achilles' tendon twice just before minicamps were due to start. He made a full recovery from that injury but suffered a strained hamstring early in training camp this year and sat out the first two preseason games.
Peters returned to practice Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field - his first full practice since July 30 - and participated in Sunday's workout at the NovaCare Complex.
"I was just trying to make sure it was right," Peters said. "I could have played (in Thursday's 14-9 victory over Carolina), but I'm just trying to make sure it was OK. I don't want to reinjure and go into the regular season tweaked up. I want to be 100 percent (for the regular-season opener on Sept. 9) against Washington."
If he can stay healthy, Peters would be a huge upgrade to the Eagles' offensive line. They struggled mightily without him last season, using Demetress Bell and King Dunlap at left tackle.
Bell was released after the season and signed as a free agent with Dallas. He failed the Cowboys' conditioning test at the start of training camp and was not cleared to start practicing until Aug. 13. Dunlap, who left via free agency, signed with San Diego and is the leading contender to be the Chargers' starting left tackle.
Peters, a 6-foot-4, 328-pound blend of strength, power and agility, was arguably the NFL's best offensive lineman at the end of the 2011 season.
"He's a dynamite player," Eagles quarterback Michael Vick said Saturday. "The other guys (Allen Barbre) were doing well when he was out (during training camp), but Jason Peters is a different animal."
So much so that new offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland used Peters as the prototypical left tackle during his college coaching days at Alabama, Miami and Michigan State.
When he was teaching his offensive linemen, he would show tapes of Peters as an example of how to play that position.
First-year Eagles head coach Chip Kelly has been similarly impressed.
"I don't think there is a player like him in the world, to be honest with you," Kelly said in an earlier interview. "Someone that big, that fast, that athletic. I kind of catch myself in practice just going, 'Wow.' He's 350 pounds, and he runs like he's a tight end."
Although he hasn't been practicing much, Peters has been working out daily with the team's athletic training staff. As a result, he doesn't anticipate having any problems keeping up with Kelly's fast-paced offense.
The Eagles usually go without a huddle and hustle to the line of scrimmage between plays.
"That's what training camp is for, to get into game shape" Peters said. "I've been working out every day and I'll be ready to go."
Extra points: Tight end Emil Igwenagu (concussion), cornerback Curtis Marsh (fractured hand), running back Felix Jones (strained oblique), tackle Dennis Kelly (back surgery), linebacker Casey Matthews (strained knee), safety Kenny Phillips (strained quadriceps) and guard Danny Watkins (concussion) did not participate in Sunday's practice. The workout was closed to the media but open to approximately 400 corporate sponsors and select season-ticket holders.
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