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Players’ Tribune letter: Patrick Peterson says goodbye to Arizona

Defensive back Patrick Peterson #21 of the Arizona Cardinals takes a selfie with fans before the preseason NFL game against the Los Angeles Chargers at University of Phoenix Stadium on August 11, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Former Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson paid tribute to the franchise that drafted him nearly 10 years ago.

The eight-time Pro Bowler who left Arizona for the Minnesota Vikings in free agency last month put out a personal letter on The Players’ Tribune on Tuesday thanking Arizona for helping him become the player that he today.

“Ten years ago, when I found out I was going to be a Cardinal, I didn’t even recognize the 602 area code,” Peterson said. “I barely knew anything about Arizona. I moved out here, got married to my wife, Antonique, and brought two beautiful daughters into the world, which is a blessing.”

When Peterson first landed in Arizona after the 2011 NFL draft, he was surrounded with a ton of veteran presence in the locker room including Rashad Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Adrian Wilson, Darnell Dockett, Joey Porter and Richard Marshall.

“They took me under their wing and showed me the ropes of how to be a pro — how to study, how to practice, how to come to work, how to handle your business,” Peterson said.

Peterson added that he formed a special bond with Dockett and looked up to him like a brother.

“Whatever the hottest J’s (Jordan’s) were, Darnell always made sure they were waiting for me in my locker,” Peterson said. “He got me some Oregon 3s, 4s and 5s. Those were some of the hot ones back then… Copped some Concord 12s. Whatever it was, he always had a pair for me. He was seriously big bro.”

However the road to success wasn’t always easy for the three-time All-Pro cornerback.

Peterson credits former head coach Bruce Arians for pushing him to become a better player.

“It was my third year, and Bruce Arians had just taken over the coaching job. And he was tough on me,” Peterson said. “He never let me off easy. It seemed like he was trying to groom me for more of a leadership role. I became a captain in his first year there. I felt like he trusted me, and he knew that I had the work ethic and the desire to be one of those guys — to be a five-star athlete as he would call it.”

The 30-year-old cornerback went on to say that under Arians he “became a part of the bigger picture” and truly felt like an Arizona Cardinal.

At the beginning of his career, Peterson believed he would play 15 seasons in the NFL.

Now heading into his 11th season, Peterson will begin a new chapter in his life with the Vikings.

“Put it this way, all the great ones, all the guys who are in the Hall of Fame — you look at their résumés and see that most of those guys played around 15 years,” Peterson wrote. “The more you play, the more you have on tape to be what you want to be at the end of your career.”

Even though his time in Arizona has now come to end, Peterson is hopeful to see his number in the Cardinals Ring of Honor one day.

“I hope Arizona puts my number up with all their greats — guys like Pat (Tillman) and Larry Wilson and J.V. Cain,” Peterson said. “I spent the majority of my time in Arizona. I had a great time there. I built my career there.”


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