The Steelers signed All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson to a two-year contract. Peterson was an unrestricted free agent after spending the last two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings.
Peterson said his attraction to the Steelers was the attitude the team has on defense, something he is excited to be a part of.
"The guys they have on the defensive side of the ball, first and foremost," said Peterson at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Thursday. "To have the opportunity to play with T.J. (Watt), Minkah (Fitzpatrick), Cam (Heyward). To have the chance to be with a core group like that...you can't ask for a better group to be around. And with the identity this team has, me being a player who prides myself on being a part of a stout group, this had my name written all over it.
"Any time you look at a Pittsburgh Steelers team you just think about the bruising mentality the defense brings. The bully mentality they bring. For years the defense has always been the identity of this organization. The offense has always had great players as well, but when you think of the Pittsburgh Steelers, it's the Steel Curtain, guys like Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, James Farrior. I wanted to have my name be associated with those guys as well."
Peterson, who will be entering his 13th season in the NFL, is a three-time Associated Press First-Team All-Pro selection, making it in 2011 as a punt returner, and 2013 and 2015 as a corner.
Peterson has 34 career interceptions, tied with Harrison Smith for the most interceptions of any active NFL player. He had five interceptions in 2022, the second-most of his career. In 2012 he recorded a career-high seven interceptions.
He said playing for Coach Mike Tomlin was another big draw for coming to the Steelers.
"He is one of the main reasons I wanted to be a part of this team," said Peterson. "Watching Coach from afar, his coaching pedigree, the understanding he has," said Peterson. "My cousin had the opportunity to play for him. Watching from afar you want to be around a coach who is never out of it, and Coach Tomlin is never out of it. He just finds a way to motivate the players, give them the confidence they didn't even know they had to go out and play their best football and let the rest of it take care of itself."
Peterson signed with the Vikings in 2021 after spending his first 10 seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.
With the Vikings he played in 30 games, starting all of them. He finished the 2022 season with 66 tackles, 56 of them solo stops, five interceptions, 15 passes defensed and three tackles of a loss.
In his first season in Minnesota in 2021, Peterson played in 13 games and recorded 45 tackles, 34 of them solo stops, five passes defensed, two tackles for a loss and one interception, which he returned 66 yards for a touchdown.
For his career, Peterson has played in 184 games, impressively starting all 184 of them. He has 34 career inceptions, including two returned for a touchdown. He has 610 tackles, 537 of them solo stops, 111 passes defensed, which is ranked third-most in the NFL among active players, and 15 tackles for a loss.
Peterson was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, the fifth pick overall. He was voted to the Pro Bowl in each of his first eight seasons, the first year as a returner (2011) and the next seven years at cornerback (2012-18). He was named to the 2010s All-Decade Team by the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 48-member selection committee.
Peterson was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week three times in his career including against Cleveland (12/15/19), St. Louis (11/19/14) and Tampa Bay (9/29/13). He was the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week twice and Special Teams Player of the Month once (Nov. 2011). He was also voted a team captain five times with the Cardinals.
In his 10 seasons in Arizona, he started all 154 of the games he played in. He finished his career with the Cardinals with 499 tackles, 447 of them solo stops, 28 interceptions, including one for a touchdown, 91 passes defensed, and 10 tackles for a loss.
Peterson played college football at LSU, where he later donated $1 million to their weight room, which is named after him. In addition to being related to Bryant McFadden, his brother Avery Johnson was a wide receiver at the University of Cincinnati and his other cousins, Walter McFadden, Santana Moss and Sinorice Moss all played in the NFL.
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