Patrick Peterson is a mentor to many, not just defensive backs
When the Pittsburgh Steelers lost veteran defensive back Cameron Sutton to the Detroit Lions in free agency, many were concerned about the team filling his experience and versatility on the field. Rightfully so, considering Sutton played a myriad of roles in the Steelers’ complex defensive scheme. He often bounced both outside and inside coverage schemes, depending on the situation.
Shortly after Sutton departed, the Steelers added a veteran of their own in Patrick Peterson.
While Peterson was nearing the end of his career, his versatility was evident on film, and he still had the look of a player who could fill Sutton’s role which was vacated, and then some. However, what most people missed with their knee jerk reactions to the signing was what Peterson brought off the field as a leader.
There have been a lot of pictures and articles written about Peterson mentoring young defensive backs Joey Porter Jr. and Cory Trice Jr. throughout the offseason workout program and the early stages of training camp. But what many might not realize is how Peterson is not just mentoring defensive backs, but many on the team. That would include another rookie on the offensive side of the ball, Darnell Washington.
“We sit next to each other in team meetings, so he is always picking my brain on how to handle himself after practice, day-to-day life, how it is throughout the season. Things like that,” Peterson told the Steelers official website. “Even family questions. He is a young guy that got married very young. He asked questions about that in the early part of camp. It is always great to have these young guys ask veterans questions that they think can help them with their game, with life.”
For Washington, Peterson is like having a big brother who can show you the ropes. A player who has been there and done yet in every aspect of the NFL.
“For me, it’s very important to have a guy like Pat Pete,” said Washington. “My whole life, I have been by myself. To have someone who has been in the league, a veteran guy who has played a long time, to learn from him, this is new to me. I take those things very seriously. I enjoy Pat Pete and I am glad he is my teammate. Just for a veteran guy to open up to a rookie and help and guide me is a blessing.”
As for Peterson, mentoring young players isn’t a burden, in fact he views it as a blessing. An ability to pay it forward towards the end of his career.
“I am a caring and giving person. If anybody needs more information to help them get better, I am all for it,” said Peterson. “You want to continue leaning on the next generation, that they will be able to pass down the same traits and tools to the next generation. You always want to leave the next generation in good hands.”
Peterson sees Washington differently than maybe the average fans do, and the hope is it helps him become a great player for a long time in the league.
“He has a little bit of an old soul personality,” said Peterson. “He is definitely taking in some of the things I have been telling him, from body maintenance, working on his body even if it is not sore or hurting. Making sure he is always in tune in order to make him a better player.
“That is what the greats do. If you want to be one of the greats, then what are you doing when nobody is looking.”
As stated earlier, when the Steelers signed Patrick Peterson to help fill the void left by Cam Sutton, they didn’t just get a quality player on the roster, but a top-notch human being and teammate.
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