Cardinals defensive tackle Corey Peters, who ruptures his Achilles in 2015, works in a recent rehab session.
The Cardinals have been judicious in free agency, adding just a pair of new players – guard Evan Mathis and safety Tyvon Branch – while bringing back a handful of their own guys with expired deals.
The team also traded for linebacker Chandler Jones.
But there's another addition waiting to make an impact, even though he was already on the roster. Defensive tackle Corey Peters was part of the 2015 free agent class, set to start as he impressed the coaches during training camp. But he ruptured his left Achilles in practice after just one preseason game, ending his season before it really got started.
Now, Peters has a chance to join guys like Jones and Branch to help what was already a pretty good defense, even if
he was already part of the team.
"It's not like we get to lace them up and go back to Carolina," Peters said after a recent rehab session. "It's a whole new year, a whole new process, and I look forward to being a part of the journey. It really does feel like I just signed."
Peters has done this before. He ruptured his right Achilles at the end of the 2013 season. He understood the comeback road. The first time it happened, Peters acknowledged he was "really depressed" enduring the mentally draining process.
But understanding he returned 100 percent with no lingering effects the first time helped his outlook this time around.
"It gave me the confidence that once I pushed through this rehab, I feel like I should be 100 percent, better and stronger," Peters said. "I am already stronger in my upper body than I was before."
Peters just started some running, calling himself "right on schedule." He likes the idea that, because of the timing of the injury, he is already to the point where he should be able to train hard before he ever gets to training camp. He isn't closing the door on working in OTAs, but it is training camp that is the main goal. If he is able to work in OTAs – and realistically, he'd probably be limited regardless of his progress – that would be a bonus.
He joins a defensive line that, at the moment, remains intact from 2015. Calais Campbell, Frostee Rucker, Rodney Gunter, Ed Stinson, Josh Mauro and Cory Redding are set to return right now, with help from Red Bryant and Xavier Williams if needed. In a draft deep in defensive linemen, that could also change.
Peters hopes to get back into the role he was set to own before his injury. He was frustrated not being able to play in 2015, but praised the support he got from the rest of the linemen in his room. But he said it would be different once he started playing games alongside them, something he didn't get to do yet.
"I felt like there were things I could've added to the team, and I just wanted to be part of it," Peters said. "Going all the way back to high school, all I've ever wanted to do was carry my weight and do my share of the work for the team. I'm looking forward to that. I feel like I was doing a good job in camp (but) there is nothing like being out on that field with your teammates."
Images of Cardinals cheerleader Alex from throughout the year