Free-agent CB Patrick Peterson has ‘a lot left in the tank,’ would want warning if team sees him as safety

If Peterson does find a home for 2024, the where is still very much to be determined — both in terms of the team and the position.

So long a shutdown corner, he dabbled at the safety position for parts of last season in Pittsburgh, lining up at free safety on 225 snaps and in the box for 117 plays. That’s still minimal compared to his 844 combined snaps at the wide or slot corner positions, but it’s something to consider as another class of young, speedy CBs prepare to enter the NFL in what would be Peterson’s 14th season.

The soon-to-be 34-year-old admitted he enjoyed moonlighting at the position last year and would welcome returning to safety, but he would require warning.

“I don’t want to start at safety because that’s a different animal back there,” Peterson said. “That’s a different view back there. If that is the case, I would need to be warned going into the season to get my body, my mental prepared. It’s different being at the safety from the cornerback position, having those open-field tackles As corners, we’re used to knifing in and slicing guys down. When you’re in the open field as a safety, especially if you’re in the middle of the field, that guy’s got 24 yards right and 24 yards left of you. There ain’t no way to cut him off by any means. You’re the last line of defense. So if that is something, I would need notice and probably, you know, get one of these old-time safeties like an Ed Reed or (Troy) Polamalu to coach me up.”

Wherever he lines up, Peterson’s main two reasons for playing — his love for the game and “to win a Lombardi” — remain the same.

For now, the NFL’s active leader with 36 interceptions waits.

“If that was the last ride, I’d hate for it to be because I always set the goal out for myself to play 14 years, but we still have time and we’ll see what happens,” Peterson said.

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