If Jason Peters had his way he'd be lining up at left tackle in Jacksonville on Sunday. Bills head coach Dick Jauron however, would prefer to wait and see how the Pro Bowl offensive linemen looks through the course of the practice week.
"I'm going to get myself prepared this week preparation-wise, conditioning-wise and show up Sunday at Jacksonville," said a confident Peters.
"Jason is planning to play, but we don't know that until we see him practice and we won't know how he practices and what kind of shape he's in until late in the week," said Jauron. "Jason is probably in very good shape, but he's probably not in very good football shape and there's a big difference between those two. It's not the same as working out. Playing a game is not the same as conditioning to come to camp. We have to make sure that when we do activate him that he is ready to go football-wise."
Jauron indicated that it could take up to two weeks, and the league has given Buffalo a two game roster exemption for the Pro Bowl left tackle. But it doesn't seem likely the club would wait any longer than absolutely necessary to keep arguably their most talented offensive player off the field.
Though the offensive scheme has changed, most of the run game concepts and protection schemes are the same and Jauron told Buffalobills.com he doesn't believe it will be a major issue for Peters to tackle.
Peters looked fit and Jauron confirmed that physically he's in great shape in terms of weight and body mass.
"We do all kinds of testing and we tested him and his weight is probably better than it was a year ago," said Jauron. "As far as his playing weight he's a little bit under it. His percentage body fat is really good. So he's obviously been doing something and working out. And he's a very unique guy anyway physically."
Peters told Buffalobills.com that he's been completely recovered from his sports hernia surgery since the middle of March.
"I'm 100 percent and ready to go and glad to be back," said Peters.
When asked why he decided to finally report, Peters explained what unfolded over the past week.
"Just talks with (Jim) Overdorf and Russ (Brandon) and talking to my agent," said Peters. "Just you know believing that a man's word is his word. Obviously I was sitting out because of my contract issues. They said they were going to take care of it. I take (their) word on it and get ready for this season."
Peters' agent apparently felt he heard what needed to be said by the Bills and told the offensive lineman to report.
"All I got word on was my agent called me and was like, 'Jason you need to be there Saturday. You've got to be there Saturday. I'm not taking no for an answer,'" said Peters. "And I showed up."
The 43-day holdout has not accomplished anything by way of a new contract right now, but Peters believes there will be a resolution at some point this season.
"My agent is a good one," said Peters. "He's one of the best so I believe in him, he believes in me and I believe in the Bills organization to get it done."
The fifth-year lineman didn't deny that it was a difficult decision for him to hold out as long as he did, but he felt it was the only card he had to play.
"That's the only way I could have sent the message," Peters said. "If I show up the problem is never going to get solved. So the only leverage I had was to sit out and show them there was a problem. That's the only option I had was to sit out."
What really ate at him was the effect his absence had on the team.
"Watching the preseason games they kept bringing my name up and the first game we might have lost," said Peters. "I let my teammates down, but it was something I had to do for my family. They're my family on the field, but I've got family off the field. I felt like I was letting them down a little bit."
But Peters has been welcomed back with open arms by the men in the locker room and the left tackle seems eager to focus on football while letting his agent handle the contract.
"They're happy," said Peters of his teammates. "And I'm happy to be back and ready to get the ball rolling."
And more importantly Peters wants to stay in Buffalo long term.
"I definitely want to be a Bill because when I came out I had a choice to pick what team I wanted to go to and I picked the Bills," said Peters. "I want to be here."