Adrian Peterson has become something of an ACL whisperer, the guy players who’ve had reconstructive knee surgery seek out as they begin rehabbing from the injury.
Peterson, who played at the start of the 2012 season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament Christmas Eve 2011, reached new heights last season, rushing for 2,097 yards and scoring 12 touchdowns. He very, very nearly broke Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record and was the NFL’s MVP, leading the Minnesota Vikings into the playoffs.
Now, he’s spoken with, among others, Robert Griffin III as the Washington Redskins quarterback continues his own remarkable recovery from knee surgery. Count Peterson among the increasingly large number of people who believe he’ll be ready for the season opener.
“RGIII’s confidence level is where mine was at and I think he’ll be back Week 1 and each week, he’ll get stronger,” Peterson told USA Today’s Jim Corbett. “I have a lot of confidence in the young guy.
“I’ve been with him a couple of times. And judging by how he approached his rookie year, if he continues taking that same strong mindset and applies it to his rehab, he’ll do better this season than last. I’m pulling for him.”
Peterson said he told RGIII straight up, ‘You’re not me.’” That’s a distinction he no doubt makes with others, like Brian Cushing and Darrelle Revis, who are rehabbing their knees and hoping to beat Peterson’s timetable.
“I’m cool with that role,” Peterson said of sharing his experience. “It makes me feel good knowing I set the bar high.
“It feels good when guys reach out to be inspired — and you have shown people an example of how you can come back and be better than you were before when adversity strikes; and when the world predicts the opposite, you show them you not only can be successful but be great.”