Football Team

"Blindsided": Peterson reacts to release; praises Gibson and Love

Football Team

When Adrian Peterson saw Ron Rivera's name pop up on his phone on Friday, he got a funny feeling. 

"You don't usually get a call at 7 a.m. from the head coach," Peterson told the Grant & Danny show on 106.7 The Fan.

Rivera asked Peterson to come in to talk to him at the franchise's Ashburn facility, according to the veteran, and the ensuing meeting resulted in Peterson's release.  

Soon after that news, he joined the radio pair to react to the sudden ending to his career in Washington.

"I didn't know that this was happening," he said. "It kind of caught me off guard, kind of blindsided me.

"It's a lot to digest just within a few hours. I still want to play the game."

Peterson sounded calm throughout the interview and seemed already at peace with the decision. He believed that all five of the team's running backs could've made the final roster, yet he also gets that he was by far the oldest one in that crew.

"Strictly because of just the youth being the direction they want to go in, unfortunately it didn't work out for me," Peterson told 106.7.

The future Hall of Famer took a lot of pride in serving as a mentor and an inspiration to the organization's younger players during his two-year stint with the Burgundy and Gold, and this summer, two up-and-comers he got really close with were Antonio Gibson and Bryce Love.

 

Gibson's emergence in particular had to have factored into the team's choice to move on from the 35-year-old, but that didn't stop Peterson from praising him effusively. 

"Antonio Gibson is a great person, a great football player," he said. "I've loved and enjoyed what I've seen from him."

"He's well put together," Peterson added. "He's going be able to run between the tackles without a doubt."

As for Love, Peterson admired the way the former Stanford star has attacked his recovery from the torn ACL he suffered in college. 

"Just his process of grinding to make it back to play this game he loves and just to see how he has continued to progress, and these last couple of weeks especially, seeing what he's been able to do has been very impressive," Peterson said. "The future is definitely bright for him."

Peterson was also very positive on Rivera's influence on Washington, despite the fact that Rivera is the one who ultimately made the call to release him. The seven-time Pro Bowler was ready to be a part of Rivera's debut season with the Burgundy and Gold. 

"They have the right guy in place," he said.

At the start of 2020 training camp, Peterson was a fixture with the first-team offense. As camp developed, however, he slowly started to fall out of the rotation in certain packages, as Gibson and JD McKissic's versatility made them more appealing for coordinator Scott Turner.

That diminishing role was something Peterson noticed, though he didn't necessarily expect it to end the way it did on Friday. But Friday isn't the true end, at least in Peterson's mind. 

"I feel like I have a lot left in the tank," he said.