Dealing Cards: Patrick Peterson to face off with childhood team Sunday in Miami

Dec 8, 2016, 4:31 PM | Updated: Dec 9, 2016, 12:04 am
Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) moves to the field before the first of an NFL fo...
Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) moves to the field before the first of an NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
(AP Photo/David Goldman)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Patrick Peterson used the words “us” and “we” when describing one of the teams that will be playing at Hard Rock Stadium Sunday afternoon.

He was referring to the Miami Dolphins. Of course.

Now, before you get all upset with the Cardinals’ Pro Bowl cornerback, context is important.

Peterson, 26, grew up in Pompano Beach, Fla. which is just outside of Miami.

Not surprisingly he was a Dolphins fan, and this Sunday will be his first chance to play in the stadium he used to attend as a fan. It will not be the first time he’s played against the franchise, however, as the Cardinals won a 24-21 OT game in Glendale in 2012.

“I went to a ton of games; one of my favorite memories from when I was a Dolphin fan when we brought out the orange jerseys and beat New England on Monday Night,” Peterson said Thursday. “That was a pretty sweet win.”

That game was in 2004, and the Dolphins, after falling behind 28-17 with less than four minutes remaining, scored a pair of touchdowns late to pull off a 29-28 victory over the future Super Bowl champions.

Peterson, who was 14 at the time, enjoyed it just as any regular fan would.

“It was always fun growing up watching the Dolphins play, although we didn’t have much offense in the past, but defense always kind of kept us in ballgames,” he added. “It’s going to be different, going up against them, coming in the visitor locker room, going up against the team that you were a fan of and grew up watching.

“I definitely want to make some plays.”

Yes, Peterson wants the Dolphins to lose this weekend. Well, likely more than that, he wants the Cardinals to win.

The idea of going against his childhood team, one he still seems to claim at least in part, is a bit strange for him.

“It is weird because I truly was a die-hard Dolphin fan growing up, and sometimes it still creeps out,” he said. “I still find myself looking at them every once in a while, and always because my friend that’s here with me now, one of my childhood friends, he’s a die-hard Dolphin fan too, and I’ve been teasing him all week, who he’s going to be rooting for.

“Luckily, he said me, because if he didn’t he wouldn’t be coming to the game. But yeah, I do always find myself always saying ‘us’ or ‘we.'”

Injury update

The official report can be seen here, and for the Cardinals, receiver John Brown was upgraded to limited while quarterback Carson Palmer, receiver Larry Fitzgerald and defensive lineman Frostee Rucker all put in full sessions. Linebacker Markus Golden (hamstring) and safety Tyrann Mathieu (shoulder) were once again out. Also not practicing were cornerback Tharold Simon (ankle) and defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche (elbow).

More records? Nah

The more Larry Fitzgerald plays, the higher up the record book ladder he climbs. As of now, he is 209 catches behind Tony Gonzalez for second on the all-time receptions list and 439 behind Jerry Rice for the top spot.

According to Fitzgerald, though, he’s about done climbing.

“I won’t catch any of those guys,” he said. “I don’t plan on playing that long to catch those guys.”

This was not Fitzgerald’s way of announcing his retirement or anything like that. Just figure, he would need to play probably another two seasons, at least, to reach Gonzalez’s level, and then another couple after that in order to have a shot at Rice.

That all assumes Fitzgerald not only stays healthy, mind you, but continues at the pace he has been on the last couple of seasons.

After catching 82 passes in 2013, his first in Bruce Arians’ offense, Fitzgerald put together totals of 63, 109 and now, this season, is tracking toward 117 receptions.

It’s been rather impressive for a guy who many felt was near the end of his peak playing days even a few years ago.

“First of all, I’ve got a great quarterback — he’s got unbelievable touch and feel — he gets the ball to me accurately, and I just catch it if it’s thrown to me,” Fitzgerald said of his ability to catch as many passes as he has. “That’s pretty simple, and Coach (Arians) does a great job of moving me around, getting me in favorable positions and featuring me, so I’ve kind of just taken advantage of the opportunities that I’ve been given. It’s not rocket science or anything like that.”

Fitzgerald added it has helped to have weapons around him, because defenses have to worry about other players beside himself. That leads to more single coverage, which he has exploited.

How much longer he will do so only he knows, but when it comes to Fitzgerald’s place among the leaderboards, he said it’s a great footnote.

“I’ve done everything I could ever imagine on a personal level — I just want to win at this point,” he said. “The numbers and the records and all that stuff, it’s great, but the one thing that I can’t do on my own or that’s really something that I can go out there and do it on a Sunday, like, I just want to win, man. That’s all I care about at this point.”

Back on Twitter

Safety Tony Jefferson made his return to Twitter Thursday, though he appeared to do so with a specific purpose in mind.

Formerly one of the most active players on the social media platform, Jefferson took a hiatus only to return with a handful of games left in the regular season (and a spot in the Pro Bowl on the line).

“More on the marketing side, just felt like I needed to have one back,” he said. “I won’t be as active as before, but it’s cool to have one back.”

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