Peterson eager to show Steelers he’s still elite | News, Sports, Work

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Patrick Peterson knows he’s not 23 anymore. Or 28 for that matter.

That doesn’t mean the newest member of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ secondary believes he’s slowing down.

Yes, at 32, the eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback knows he may not be able to keep up with wide receivers nearly a decade younger step-by-step all the time.

Still, Peterson believes he can make up for whatever he may have lost in speed with the wisdom gained from being one of the league’s best players for 12 years and counting.

If anything, Peterson — who signed a two-year deal to join Pittsburgh this week — believes there’s more to his game than he’s been able to show.

“I can do anything” Peterson said Thursday. “I haven’t been in the league for 13 years because I was good at one thing.”

Yes and no.

Although Peterson always believed he had the capacity to line up at various spots in the defensive backfield, he spent nearly his entire career as a shutdown corner, a scarce commodity that made him a very rich man.

That could change in Pittsburgh, one of the reasons Peterson was lured to join the Steelers.

“I want to be in (a) position to continue to help my team, but also to be in a position to continue to help me be successful,” said Peterson, who had five interceptions and 15 passes defensed last year for Minnesota. “It’s all about putting me in the right position with my teammates and mixing up matching coverages to make opposing offenses difficult.”

Peterson joins a sophomore in need of veteran experience on the outside. Cam Sutton signed a free agent contract with Detroit earlier in the week. Levi Wallace was fine in a somewhat situational role, while Akello Witherspoon played in just four games due to injury for a team that rebounded from a slow start to finish 9-8.

Peterson, who turns 33 in July, will automatically become the elder statesman of a second-place finish that includes perennial pro bowler Minkah Fitzpatrick. It’s a role Peterson is eager to embrace. Maybe because as the oldest of five children, being a leader comes naturally.

“No one has to tell me, you know, ‘We think you should help this person,’ Peterson said. “What I’ve done so far in my career (is) I feel like I have so much that I can share (with) the next generation. Why would I want to hold on to that?’

Peterson said he almost came to Pittsburgh as a free agent last year before deciding to sign a new one-year deal to stay with the Vikings. This time, with a friendly nudge from his cousin Bryant McFadden, who spent five years playing for Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, Peterson didn’t hesitate to join a team he believed was close to re-emerging as a contender.

“I wanted to be a part of that pedigree and that, that identity that the Steeler organization brings to the NFL,” Peterson said. “(They) always compete. Coach Tomlin will always have his team, his guys, in a position to win no matter what the circumstances. For me, being in the latter part of my career, I wanted to be a part of a very famous franchise.

Peterson headlines a free agent class that includes guards Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts and left guard Nate Herbig. The Steelers also brought back defensive tackle Larry Ogunyobi and safety Damontae Kazee.

To free up some money to go under the cap, Pittsburgh released inside linebacker Myles Jack on Thursday. The move creates about $8 million in salary cap relief. Jack played well in his one season with the Steelers. His 104 tackles led the team despite dealing with season-ending injuries.


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