RENTON, Wash. — After a talk with Pete Carroll, Adrian Peterson has started to consider a post-playing career in coaching. For now, though, the 36-year-old running back plans to continue his Hall of Fame career in 2022.
Peterson finished his 15th NFL season on injured reserve with the Seattle Seahawks, who closed out their 7-10 season with a win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Peterson joined their practice squad in early December and played in one game before injuring his back.
Peterson, who will be a free agent, said Monday that he hasn’t talked with team officials about a return to the Seahawks but wants to keep playing.
“I just can’t fathom my career ending the way that it did,” he said. “So with that, I’m going into the offseason with the mindset to continue to play. I still have love for the game. I feel I can compete at a high level still and with an offseason under my belt, with the mindset — because I’m stronger than I was last year, mentally — with the mindset that I would go into this offseason with, I feel like I’ll be able to do some incredible things, getting healthy and just kind of grinding this offseason with a different mentality. So as of today, I definitely look forward to playing again.”
The Seahawks were all but eliminated from playoff contention when they signed Peterson but believed he could make a positive impact on their younger players. That proved especially true with fourth-year running back Rashaad Penny, whose late-season explosion coincided with Peterson’s arrival.
Penny, who led the NFL with 671 rushing yards over the final five games and scored six touchdowns in that span, continually cited how much he benefited from watching Peterson and soaking in his wisdom.
“I feel like one of the biggest people that I was able to impact was Penny,” Peterson said. “He didn’t shy away. He didn’t shy away from asking questions and trying to pick my brain. ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ Not only did he just ask, he actually acted off of it as well. He’s been doing things throughout the week to help recover his body, to keep his body in shape.”
Carroll saw the same thing. That was part of the reason why he recently brought up to Peterson the possibility of an eventual move to coaching.
Before that, he had never considered coaching anything other than perhaps his son’s little league team.
“But after talking to Coach Pete, it’s something I’ve kind of been thinking about,” Peterson said. “I talked to my wife as well and she was like, ‘Adrian, you are just a different person when you’re around football and it shows. So it’s something you really should think about and consider.’ So for the first time I’ve actually thought about it and considered going in that direction if and when I’m done playing football. So we’ll see where the chips fall.”
In his lone game with the Seahawks, Peterson scored a touchdown to tie Jim Brown for 10th place on the NFL’s all-time TD list.
“The experience was top-notch,” he said of his time with Seattle. “I’ve been blessed to play with a lot of different organizations and I can say this is definitely, probably the best experience I’ve had.”
Peterson ranks fifth in NFL history with 14,918 career rushing yards.