The Pittsburgh Steelers have had an eventful start to the 2023 NFL league year so far, and one area of the intrigue surrounding the Steelers’ free agent moves has been their activity on Day 1.
The first day saw the Steelers lose veteran cornerback Cameron Sutton to the Detroit Lions, but then the team acquired veteran, and most would say future Hall of Famer, Patrick Peterson.
Peterson is no spring chicken, but his value as a savvy veteran is undeniable. When Peterson’s signing was made official by the organization, he answered questions from the Pittsburgh media. One answer he provided was extremely interesting, as he alluded to the Steelers trying to trade for him before the 2022 season.
Here was his response when asked if he was surprised the Steelers reached out on the first day they could negotiate with players.
“I wasn’t surprised because we almost made something happen last year, having conversations with Grady [Brown] and Coach [Mike] Tomlin last year.” Peterson said.
“Obviously, we weren’t able to make it happen, but this go around in a different situation losing a key component to their secondary in Cam [Sutton] and feeling like they needed a guy that has some of those same attributes as a smart, tough physical football player… I wanted to be a part of this pedigree and this identity that the Steelers organization and team brings to the NFL. They’re always competitive. Coach Tomlin is always going to have his guys in position to win no matter what the circumstances are. For me being in the latter part of my career, I wanted to be a part of a very storied franchise and what better franchise that you would want to be with than the Pittsburgh Steelers?”
From there, Peterson was asked about his overall experience with the Steelers, and mainly head coach Mike Tomlin.
“With Coach Tomlin having an opportunity to coach my cousin, Bryant McFadden, I had an opportunity to cross paths with him numerous times before I got to college, and obviously, coming out of LSU and getting prepared for the Draft, having communication throughout that process.
“Just watching him from afar, anytime we played him, it was just always a great deal of respect between us. When you see his coaching style, how much his players talk about him, his sayings, you just want to be a part of something like that. When you have an opportunity, you don’t want to waste that opportunity.
“On the second go round, I feel like I definitely have a lot left in the tank. I can provide a lot to whatever team I was going to land on, but I felt like this was the best fit for me, just because of what Coach can do for my career as a DB.”
It shouldn’t shock any Steelers fans when it comes to the amount of respect Tomlin provides across the league. Nonetheless, Peterson’s track to becoming a member of the Steelers certainly ran through his cousin, and former defensive back, Bryant McFadden. It was through McFadden where Peterson was told how passionate the fan base is, and what to expect when donning the black-and-gold for the first time.
“Just telling me how loyal the fans, the organization, the Rooney family are. Just how the passion that this city has for not only the Pittsburgh Steelers, but for sports in general.” Peterson recalled of conversations with his cousin.
“For me, being a defensive player, when you have the fans making it hard for opposing teams, even on the road because I can remember the Cardinals fans and seeing a bunch of Terrible Towels taking over that stadium. So being a defensive player and going on the road and seeing your fans do that, it makes you want to play that much harder and makes you want to bring that ‘W’ home that much more.
“It is quite an honor to finally be a part of this organization, this rich tradition that this organization has. Very, very blessed, and Bryant told me that this fan base is like no other, so I’m excited to be a part of it.”
When it comes to the fan base, there were plenty who had their reservations surrounding the signing of a player who will be 33 when the 2023 season kicks off. Nonetheless, Peterson is at least saying all the right things to get some confidence growing among the global fan base.
Let’s just hope he still has plenty of gas left in the tank before he calls it a career.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the 2023 NFL offseason.