There was little doubt, but Adrian Peterson is officially returning to the Washington Redskins in 2020.
Washington officially exercised Peterson's team option on his contract on Wednesday, keeping the 35-year-old under contract through next season.
"Adrian Peterson is the epitome of what it means to be a pro in this league," head coach Ron Rivera said in the team's statement. "Adrian’s leadership and passion towards the game of football will set an example of what is expected of the players in this program moving forward."
The seven-time Pro Bowler has led Washington in rushing yards the last two seasons. A year ago, he was named a team captain for the Burgundy and Gold and led the team in rushing touchdowns and carries in addition to rushing yards. In 2018, he rushed for over 1,000 yards in his first season with the team.
The future Hall of Famer has continued to climb in the record books during his time in Washington. Last season, he passed Walter Payton on the all-time rushing touchdowns list and eclipsed 14,000 yards on the ground. Entering 2020, he remains 1,054 yards away from passing Lions' legend Barry Sanders for fourth all-time in rushing yards.
Peterson's return to Washington was expected, especially considering the many question marks surrounding the rest of the position group.
If the Redskins had let Peterson become a free agent, Washington's top two running backs under contract would have been third-year pro Derrius Guice and sophomore Bryce Love, both who have a laundry list of injury concerns. The team's top pass-catching back, Chris Thompson, is a free agent.
"It’s a blessing to be back and I look forward to continue leading and inspiring those around me to be great and think outside the box!" Peterson told NBC Sports Washington's Julie Donaldson. "Not only am I appreciative to the organization for having faith in me but also love how the Redskins nation has embraced, showered me with love. I’ll continue to pour my heart and soul into winning a championship! The best is yet to come!"
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