When it comes to players nearing the end of their career, there are times when they’ll do anything to keep that competitive fire going. On top of that, they’ll look for any way to elongate their time in the spotlight.
New acquired free agent by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Patrick Peterson would certainly fall into that category. Peterson has essentially done everything there is to do in the game of football outside of winning a Super Bowl. Most consider him a lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he decides to call it a career.
That’s where the Steelers come into the equation.
As Peterson comes to Pittsburgh, he doesn’t just see his new surroundings as a fresh start, but the fact he is around a lot of youth at the cornerback position he feels as though he’s found the fountain of youth.
“Those guys definitely make me feel young,” said Peterson. “Just trying to keep up with those guys. It’s tough, but I am giving it my best go. These are guys who are tremendous athletes, big, strong. I told these guys they are new day and age cornerbacks. This is what NFL general managers and teams are looking for. Big, long guys who can run and have those physical attributes.
“It’s definitely fun to have these young guys around because maybe they can help me play three more years.”
The corners Peterson is referring to would be the rookie duo of Joey Porter Jr., 2nd Round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and Cory Trice Jr., 7th Round pick in 2023. This duo brings with them not just youth, but a combination of size, speed and length which makes them truly unique.
“To have both of these young, as coach likes to call them avatar cornerbacks, it’s going to be special,” said Peterson. “Both of them want to learn, want to get as much knowledge as they need to be successful.”
As for Porter, the feelings are mutual when it comes to Peterson. Peterson talks about the young cornerbacks keeping him young, and those young cornerbacks are looking at Peterson as a man who is a wealth of knowledge.
“He has been great,” said Porter. “He took me under his wing and showed me the ropes. I am glad to have him on my squad. Without him, I wouldn’t be able to learn so much about the game so fast like I am right now.
“The first two days were kind of tough, getting the hang of it, the speed, the pace. Just knowing the defense. Now it’s really good. I know what I am doing more, communicating more, so it’s been great.”
For Porter, he is leaning on all veterans on the defensive side of the ball to help him accelerate through the learning curve which comes with all NFL rookies.
“They are all trying to give me a good message, good insight on the game and really just learn,” said Porter. “Every time somebody new comes up to me, I take that and keep informed.”
It is still extremely early on in the process for players like Trice and Porter, but the early returns are promising. For Peterson the young players are giving him a youthful exuberance, but for the rookies, Peterson is the mentor which can help expedite the process for these first year players.
Sounds like a win-win for the Steelers defensive secondary.
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.