From unique perspective, Patrick Peterson wary of risks for NFL return

May 28, 2020, 1:22 PM | Updated: 1:28 pm
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The possibility of NFL players returning to their team facilities for full meetings and practices remains weeks down the road.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said on a conference call Thursday that coaches can hopefully return to their offices next week, but the offseason hiatus caused by coronavirus was extended two weeks, into mid-June. The restrictions were previously through the end of May.

In Arizona, cornerback Patrick Peterson has a front row seat of how seriously to take the virus. His wife, Antonique, is currently going through a doctor’s residency working in a local intensive care unit.

Her perspective, and the fact they live with two young children, is reason for Peterson to be concerned about what a return of gatherings at the Tempe facility could mean for him.

“It’s very, very stressful time not only for me but everyone. My wife is definitely on the frontline in that atmosphere every day,” Peterson told reporters on a Zoom call Thursday.

Peterson said his wife doesn’t enter the house when she gets home from work. Instead, she heads to their casita and uses it as a “mini-locker room” to keep their home free of potential COVID-19 transmission.

“She’s one of the strongest women that I’ve ever seen,” he said. “For her to be able to not only deal with this crazy virus that’s going on right now but also to come home to a newborn, a 4-year-old, having a husband … for her to be able to manage all of that is remarkable.”

All of that is why Peterson, if he had a choice, would be extra careful regarding a return of players to a locker room. He would suggest that the NFL gives it another month-plus before players return to practice facilities.

“Let OTAs be over because … we have three weeks left until the offseason program,” Peterson said. “It really doesn’t make sense to come back in June as much as I would love to be back.”

He said teams could have rescheduled OTAs around mid- to late-July before jumping into training camp. That wouldn’t be so different from lockout-affected offseasons, he said.

When the time comes for players to return, Peterson will be sure that he’s comfortable to not put his family at risk. And considering his wife’s work with patients, it goes beyond his family as well.

“If I feel comfortable enough with those protocols and I feel that’s the safest thing possible for us to be able to come back to work, I’m all in,” he said. “If it’s not … we all would have to make a very, very smart decision. You don’t want to have the opportunity of bringing that (virus) back home.

“I know that the NFL is doing everything that it can, but it’s just so tough to put your finger around how to evolve around this virus.”

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