He’s topped 1,000 yards and he’ll play all 16 games. That’s why Peterson said he showed he could still play football at a high level.
“If you watch football, if you know anything about football, then you know that he’s still got a lot left,” Peterson, who turns 34 in March, said of himself. “If you can’t see that, you’re blind.”
Peterson reiterated what he told ESPN earlier this month, that he wants to stay in Washington. A week after rookie Derrius Guice tore his ACL in August, the Redskins signed Peterson to a one-year deal for the veterans minimum.
Peterson said he’s not in a rush to have his future settled. His kids attend school in the area, but he will return to Houston to train as he does each offseason.
“I would love to come back here and finish off on a better note,” Peterson said. “We have a great group of guys here — all the adversity we’ve faced this year and how guys have responded. To come to work and really stay focused shows a lot about this team, this locker room, coaches as well. … That’s something I would love to be a part of.”
Guice is expected to be fine for next season, but there has been talk that the Redskins could re-sign Peterson and bring him to camp — just in case. The Redskins also have Chris Thompson as a third-down back.
“I feel it can work,” Peterson said. “It’s always good to have a couple backs in there with the different styles. Obviously, CT is more a third-down back; he can run the ball as well. So having two guys that can pound the ball and have a no-plays-off mentality if it’s that type of game plan, why not?”
Peterson has met with Guice a handful of times this season, though Guice spent most of his time rehabbing in Louisiana and Florida.
“I like him a lot; he’s got a nice personality,” Peterson said. “I haven’t been able to see him work and his work ethic and how he handled his business. But we talked about getting him down to Houston, so hopefully he comes down and I’m able to see what he’s all about when it comes to putting in work. Show him a couple things.”
Peterson, who has 1,042 yards rushing and seven touchdowns, has been the Redskins’ best offensive weapon this season. He’s surpassed 90 yards seven times, with the Redskins going 5-2 in those games. He had a career-best 90-yard touchdown run at Philadelphia in Week 13. He gained 119 yards vs. Tennessee last week, behind a line that included its fourth set of starting guards and is without two of its top three tight ends.
He’s also eighth on the career rushing list and is tied with Jim Brown for fifth place on the all-time rushing touchdowns list.
When Peterson plays Sunday against the visiting Eagles, it will be the second time he’s played all 16 games in a season since 2012. He did have to deal with shoulder and knee issues at various times, but he still carried the ball 247 times.
“It means a lot,” Peterson said of playing all 16 games. “I’ve had some unfortunate injuries last year and the year before. Fluke injuries. But it felt good that God blessed me with great health this season. I battled through some things, which we all do as players, but ultimately I got a full season under my belt. So that’s fulfilling.”
The 7-8 Redskins, however, won’t make the playoffs.
“I wanted to help lead a team to a championship and get into the playoffs,” Peterson said. “That’s the ultimate goal, so fell short of that.”
But he’s been what the Redskins needed.
“I’m not surprised by it,” coach Jay Gruden said. “It doesn’t happen very often for a back of his age, to do what he’s done, to accomplish what he accomplished — getting over 1,000 yards and playing through some painful injuries. Just been very impressed with Adrian’s total package.
“He’s a blessing in disguise. Obviously, we missed Derrius. We had high hopes for him. … We needed a back and it’s not very often you get to sign a Hall of Fame-type back to your roster. He’s everything as advertised.”