"All you’re hearing is, ‘He’s done, he can’t do it anymore, and even if he does, he won’t be the same,’” Peterson told SiriusXM NFL Radio co-hosts Bruce Murray and Brett Favre this week, speaking of the doubters who have fueled him. “For me, the work that I put in during the offseason, that’s what’s been keeping me going for so long, that’s allowed me to play for 12 years.”
Peterson, a free agent late into the preseason before the Redskins signed him to a one-year deal following an injury to rookie Derrius Guice, watched Favre defy his age when they were teammates in Minnesota during the final two seasons of the longtime Packers quarterback’s career.
“You know what it takes,” Peterson told Favre. “I had the opportunity to play with you in 2009, and still to this day, I haven’t felt wind go by my ear from any other passer. That was at 40 years old; at practice you threw the ball so hard, wind went by as the receiver was coming by to catch the ball. That season you had was just spectacular and amazing. Being around you, too, even motivated me more to know that I could play this game as long as I felt I could, and not allowing people to box me in. . . . You are a great example, so for me, that was something that I wanted to continue to do throughout my career. Coming in and watching you be the professional that you were at your age, the way that you practiced."
Favre threw 33 touchdown passes and seven interceptions in 2009, leading the Vikings to a 12-4 record and a trip to the NFC championship game. Minnesota stumbled to a 6-10 mark the following year before Favre, who said Monday that he’d put Peterson’s work ethic “up against anybody,” retired for good.
In September, Peterson said he was interested in playing three to four more years, and that he hadn’t given up on breaking Emmitt Smith’s NFL rushing record. Peterson isn’t within 5,000 yards of Smith’s mark, but he’s 61 yards shy of passing Eric Dickerson for eighth on the all-time list. Earlier this month, Peterson rushed for a career-long 90-yard touchdown in a loss to the Eagles. He has passed Barry Sanders, Shaun Alexander, Marshall Faulk, John Riggins and Jim Brown on the all-time rushing touchdowns list this season, and with four touchdowns in the last two weeks, he would tie Walter Payton for fourth place.
While Peterson’s first season in Washington is unlikely to end with a playoff berth, and it’s unclear whether he’ll remain with the Redskins, he made it clear again Monday that he isn’t thinking about retiring anytime soon.
“For me, what keeps me going is just having the love for the game, and not only that, I still can do it, and do it at an extremely high level,” Peterson said. “Who knows, you know? Maybe I do play five more years, but I think it’s one of those things where I know for sure I’ve got three or four more years left that I would want to play. … I think for me it’ll really come down to the love. Once I start losing love for the game and going through the process, then that right there will make me walk away from it.”
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