FRISCO, Texas – Not long after officially signing his contract with the Cowboys, Jason Peters was on the practice field Monday, already chatting with first-round draft pick Tyler Smith.
"Today he was giving me some tips and tricks he's learned throughout the years that could really help me in my development," Smith said. "He's a great addition to the team."
Smith, 21, was three years old when Peters – a nine-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle with the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles – entered the league as an undrafted rookie out of Arkansas in 2004.
Peters has built a Hall of Fame resume in the past 18 years. He says one of his goals now, at age 40, is "trying to set the bar for the up-and-coming youth."
"If you love the game and want to keep playing, I'm just showing them you can do it instead of letting the league run you out," he said. "I'm a living testimony that you can keep going."
Peters will start out on the Cowboys' practice squad for a ramp-up period. He estimates it will take a "couple weeks" before he's ready for game action. Though no starter has been officially named, Smith appears to be the leading candidate at left tackle for Sunday's regular-season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Cowboys need an injury replacement for Tyron Smith, who underwent surgery for a torn hamstring at the end of August and is expected to miss a good chunk of the regular season.
Peters has plenty of experience. He has started 205 of a possible 215 games since 2004, mostly at left tackle, with a cameo at right guard for the Eagles in 2020.
Is his goal in Dallas to start or provide depth?
"Whatever they ask me," he said. "If (Tyler) Smith gets in there and starts rolling and they want to keep him (at left tackle), I'm going to just help him along."
Tyler Smith appreciates the advice he's already gotten from Peters in one practice. "Small stuff," he said -- the finer details of the tackle position that are critical against the highest level of competition.
"He taught me a little bit about hand tricks, how he operates with his outside hand," Tyler Smith said. "… He also talked about getting out of your stance quick and getting to your spot being one of the most important parts of blocking because from that point on it's just a chess match between you and the defender. Even though it seems small, that stuff can take you a long way."
Said right tackle Terence Steele, who's entering his third year in the league, "He (Peters) is a (future) first-ballot Hall of Famer. He's been in the league almost 20 years. I'm just really blessed to have him in the room and learn from him and watch him move. He's really fluid in his movement. He's been in the game for a while. It'll be really cool to pick his brain and just see what information I can get from him."