Monday, October 2 2023

Adrian Peterson, one of the best running backs in NFL history, is not quite ready to hang up his cleats despite reaching the ripe age of 38.

Peterson’s résumé is impressive, as he ranks fifth all-time in rushing yardage (14,918) and fourth all-time in rushing touchdowns (120). But his last attempt to play in 2021 lacked luster. Splitting four games total between the Tennessee Titans (three games) and the Seattle Seahawks (one game), he gained only 98 yards on 38 carries (2.6 yards per attempt) and scored two touchdowns.

While contemporary Frank Gore — the third-ranked rusher of all time (16,000 yards) — retired in 2020 at age 37 following a 653-yard season with the New York Jets, Peterson remains optimistic he has one more run in him before wrapping up his illustrious career in 2024.

“Mentally, I haven’t officially hung it up,” Peterson said via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “We’ll see what happens. My mindset is if God’s willing, maybe an opportunity presents itself, and maybe it happens this season. I’ll go from there. But [if] nothing happens this season, for sure, I will be hanging it up.”

A four-time first-team All-Pro, Peterson is already a future Hall of Famer regardless of whether he plays a 16th season. In 2012, he was NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year while becoming one of just seven players in NFL history to surpass the 2,000-yard rushing mark in a single season (2,097 yards).

Additionally, he led the league in rushing yards on two other occasions — 2008 and 2015 — showcasing his dominance and consistency throughout his career.

The Texan and University of Oklahoma All-American was the seventh overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, selected by the Minnesota Vikings. He set franchise records for rushing yards (11,747) and rushing touchdowns (97) in 10 seasons. After being traded from Minnesota, Peterson bounced around the league, playing for the New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals, Washington Commanders, Detroit Lions, Tennessee Titans, and Seattle Seahawks.


Peterson grew up a Dallas Cowboys fan and currently lives in Houston. He’s realized he won’t catch his childhood idol, Emmitt Smith, in rushing yards (Smith is the all-time leader at 18,355, but could still pass another great — Barry Sanders (15,269).

“Emmitt Smith set a standard there,” Peterson said. “You see why it’s been there for such a long time. I feel like I had the great opportunity to do it. Unfortunately, I experienced some hiccups throughout my career, injuries, and things like that; I just wasn’t able to get there. So I think it’ll stand for a long time. Maybe eventually, someone will break it, but when you look at how the NFL is going now, it might not happen. How things are going in the NFL, it’s gonna be hard for someone to really break a record. But I can tell you this: there’s no other person to be holding that spot. Emmitt is a great guy. He inspired so many people, me growing up, being a Cowboys fan. So I got so much love for him.”

Dallas released Ezekiel Elliot following the 2022 NFL season but still has featured back Tony Pollard, Malik Davis and rookie Deuce Vaughn, on the roster.

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