We are now entering the second week of training camp and we have learned a lot about Patrick Peterson since his first year with the Arizona Cardinals. And, by now, the shock of the record setting, proposed $70 million, five-year extension has worn off.
Upon watching Peterson it is clear that in his fourth year he is a team leader. He has stepped up to the microphone to discuss the touchy issue of the John Abraham arrest and his absence from training camp. Peterson has become the all around “good guy” of the Arizona Cardinals, from answering questions openly and honestly to sticking around after practice to sign autographs and say “hi” to fans.
Although he tried downplaying the idea that his new extension won’t come with new responsibilities due to his leader tendencies, Patrick Peterson added a ton of accountability to himself while the Cardinals move forward with a new season. He now has the weight of the Cardinals organization on his shoulders by saying these six words repeatedly, “highest paid cornerback in the NFL.”
It would have been one thing if Peterson made the remarks after being asked by media about the title, but he took it upon himself to mention it multiple times. By bringing attention to this over and over, Peterson raised his own bar. After all, he is being paid $10,000 more than Seattle’s infamous Richard Sherman.
There will be more expected from him in every aspect, from the team, coaching staff, and the community surrounding the organization. He’s entered a new galaxy in the NFL. He will now be apart of the same conversations as Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson, New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham, Detroit’sCalvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh, Seattle’s Earl Thomas, Green Bay’s Clay Matthews and Buffalo’s Mario Williams, all of whom are the highest paid at their positions.
Patrick Peterson’s world has changed, but if there’s one 24 year-old who can live up to the new standard it’s him.
“He’s very, very mature,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “And I don’t like using that role model world but he’s a perfect citizen.”
And as for those who share a locker room with him, they shouldn’t expect anything more.
“That’s just unnecessary pressure,” Cardinals veteran Darnell Dockett said. “Just continue to do what he does. Before he even signed a contract like that, he was a leader so nothing should change. His responsibility is the same: Be the best corner and be accountable and just show guys how it’s supposed to be done.”
That may be so but it is hard to believe that Patrick Peterson won’t be feeling a little extra pressure when he steps on the field for Game 1.