Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Patrick Peterson will soon be 32 years old and has already played 12 NFL seasons.
That’s closer to the end than the beginning, for sure, but you can put any talk of Peterson retiring in the near term on the back burner, and Peterson said that he’s actually gotten more sure that he wants to keep playing since joining the Steelers and playing for head coach Mike Tomlin.
“I want a Super Bowl,” Peterson said in an appearance on The Jim Rome Show on Thursday. “I don’t have that yet. I came up close in 2015 with the Arizona Cardinals. That’s my why. That’s what I’m still hungry for. Mink [Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick] asked me this question the other day. He said, ‘Why are you still playing?’
“I feel like there’s still room for improvement on my behalf. That’s the type of player that I am. I’m always striving to be better than I was last year, and I still have that urge. I still have that fire. I still have that want-to.”
One of those areas that Peterson had yet to unlock in his career was moving around the secondary. According to Pro Football Focus, Peterson has played 10,668 snaps as an outside corner in his career and just 1,439 anywhere else.
With the Steelers, he’s going to be replacing departed cornerback Cam Sutton, who had a much more versatile role. In his six seasons in Pittsburgh, Sutton played 1,774 snaps outside, 861 in the slot, and another 477 as a safety.
Steelers assistant coaches said this week that their first instructions from Tomlin when the Steelers acquired Peterson this spring was to find a way to move him around the secondary.
Peterson said that process has re-energized his juices for the game to the point that he’s not even thinking about hanging up his cleats after just one season in Pittsburgh.
“It’s been so fun for me because that’s been something that I never really did,” Peterson said. “I am a ball player. You can plug me in anywhere and I can make it work. To finally come in with Coach Tomlin and have him explore other attributes of my game, it’s just going make me, probably, want to play even longer.”
Peterson has two seasons on the free agent contract that he signed with the Steelers this spring, and with the way he’s talking about playing for Tomlin, he might be signing up for more than that.