It didn’t take long for Patrick Peterson’s teammates to realize he was something special as a punt return man. As fellow DB and punt return blocker Richard Marshall noted, “Pat P is the man.” Yet the oft-repeated mantra of Peterson’s, the one in which he just told his teammates to “give me five yards”? Peterson admitted now, it wasn’t so easy to deliver that message.
“Honestly, I was scared to tell those guys at the beginning of the season,” Peterson said. “That’s the same thing I told the guys (in college) at LSU but I was a veteran at LSU. As a rookie, I didn’t want it to come off the wrong way, ‘This guy is too cocky.’ I asked coach Spence (special teams coach Kevin Spencer) if I approached the punt return team, because I feel I can make something special every time I touch the ball.”
So in a meeting the week after the game in Washington — the second game of the season — Peterson made his plea.
“From that day on, I asked the guys and a lot of times they gave me more (room), and we tied the NFL record,” Peterson said. “They took heed in it, and without those guys, I wouldn’t be in this position.”
Peterson knows now, there will be plenty of weeks where kickers don’t even try to kick it his way, eschewing the chance at deep punts to avoid him. That’s what he always expected, and it doesn’t faze him.
“I have to make them pay,” Peterson said. “If they have 10 kicks and they want all 10 away from me, they will miss one of them. And that will be my opportunity.”
Speaking of opportunity, there was one for him to hold the punt-return touchdown record all to himself in the season finale. Peterson looked like he was about to get his fifth of the season, only to have Seahawks punter Jon Ryan barely catch his foot and trip up Peterson. With a smile, Peterson acknowledged the play still haunts him.
“I was actually was stumbling into the cut,” Peterson said. “I wanted to come all the way to my left. I saw a linebacker coming into my blind spot, and I did something unusual. Normally I get back to the sideline and all my blocking was on the sideline. Rashad (Johnson) was coming to pick up the punter and I just saw it too late. It was uncharacteristic. It hurt me to my stomach each and every time I watched it.”
Tags: Patrick Peterson
Posted in Blog | 13 Comments »