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Door Still Open for Patrick Peterson Return to Steelers

Former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Patrick Peterson believes the door is still open for a return to the team.



Steelers CB Patrick Peterson
Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Patrick Peterson in a game against the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 16, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Pittsburgh Steelers released cornerback Patrick Peterson to help create cap space for moves in free agency. And the call caught Peterson off guard. On the All Things Covered Podcast, Peterson reacted to his release from the Steelers, but he does not think the door is completely closed from his return to Pittsburgh.

“It was a shocking phone call, just coming off a break, but then I had an opportunity to talk to Coach [Mike] Tomlin, we had some great dialogue and an opportunity to really talk. Because like I said, I was just getting off a cruise, so I didn’t have time to talk to him and see what came into the decision. Then later on, I had an opportunity, me and Coach Tomlin to get on the phone and talk about some things and the door may still be open,” Peterson said on the podcast via SteelerNation.

Peterson, 33, played one season with the Steelers in 2023 and had been under contract for 2024. His release will bring the Steelers significant salary cap savings, but open a hole for a starting cornerback opposite Joey Porter Jr.

An eight-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro, Peterson was a first-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2o11 and spent 10 seasons in the desert, where he collected most of the accolades that make up a Hall of Fame resume. He was a member of the NFL 2010s All-Decade team as one of the most decorated cornerbacks of his time. And he hopes he can return to help Joey Porter Jr.

“We don’t have any other corners on the roster that’s healthy, that’s under contract. I’m not taking credit for Joey [Porter Jr.], Joey is Joey. Joey’s going to be a great player, but I was in Joey’s shoes before. I was once Joey, following the number one guys, understanding that responsibility, how important that responsibility is, how there are no days off with that responsibility. I want to be able to help Joey, help his career continue to flourish. Joey can be so special, but he has no one there that can help him get to where he wants to go,” Peterson said.

He signed with the Steelers in 2023, citing a long-time desire to play for head coach Mike Tomlin and also to play for the franchise of his cousin, former Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden. Peterson and McFadden share a podcast, All Things Covered.

In 2023, Peterson started 16 of 17 games and played in 97% of Pittsburgh’s defensive snaps, while also showing off a significant level of versatility that had not been tapped earlier in his career.

Peterson played 208 snaps as a slot cornerback in 2023, according to Pro Football Focus, nearly double his previous career high. He also played 105 snaps of box safety, also near double his previous high mark, and 218 snaps of free safety, despite playing just a handful over his first 12 seasons.