Ray Lewis Thinks Adrian Peterson Might Pull a Barry Sanders and Retire Early

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterOctober 22, 2013

The Minnesota Vikings are wasting Adrian Peterson and those precious legs of his. 

Ray Lewis noticed this and went so far as to surmise the great running back might be better served pulling a Barry Sanders—who stopped running and instead walked away from the game he dominated far before fans were ready to say goodbye. 

Larry Brown Sports managed to catch some of the more intriguing words from the former NFL superstar turned ESPN analyst during the network's coverage of Monday Night Football

According to Larry Brown, Lewis took one look at the horrible Vikings team that had just lost to a very bad Giants squad and wondered how much Peterson could (or should) take. 

Me going out on that field tonight and me looking at Adrian Peterson’s eyes, it’s something that I want to bring up that I don’t want to see happen to this young kid. Because we saw it happen to a great one one time before, which was Barry Sanders. 

Oct 14, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Trent Dilfer (left) and Ray Lewis on the ESPN Monday Night Football Countdown set before the game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sanders played 10 years in the NFL, racking up 15,269 rushing yards and 99 touchdowns on the ground for the Detroit Lions. But he bowed out before the heavy load became too burdensome; well before fans expected. 

Sanders spoke with Bleacher Report's Michael Schottey in August about that particular moment in his life.

"I was feeling like I'd done enough, ready to move on...I was never that guy who was going to stay and play until they had to cart me off the field. Some guys have that love of the game where they're going to get every last play. At year 10, I lost that determination to do it every day."

Lewis, perhaps reading into the situation, ponders why Peterson would want to continue with losses mounting and the list of failed quarterbacks growing like some Santa Claus naughty list. 

Lewis continued:

If he keeps going down this road, he’s going to have to make a business decision just like Barry Sanders made a while ago. He plays the game with so much passion and so much love, and he plays it so hard … and to do him like that, to surround him with a team like that … I don’t like to see great people go through things like that.

Lewis then made a powerful assertion that the Vikings better work out their rabble quickly or they will be saying their fond farewells sooner rather than later.

"I think they have to figure it all out organizationally to figure out what is going on with the Minnesota Vikings."

For now, Peterson isn't going anywhere. We think. 

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Ray Lewis' new station in life is watching games and offering up his opinion. It just so happens that he didn't have good news after watching Josh Freeman do about as well as Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel before him (meaning, not very well at all). 

While the quarterback carousel continues to go around and around, giving fans nausea, Peterson is tasked with being the face and the legs of a relatively stagnant offense. 

To be fair, he certainly has more in the tank as he plays through just his seventh year in the league, which is remarkable considering he was tasked with coming back from tears to his ACL and MCL back in 2011. 

So really, this shouldn't start the discussion of whether AP is on his way out, because the running back will more than likely laugh off that silly scuttlebutt. 

However, it should bring an even brighter light to the Vikings doldrums. How bad are things in Minnesota? Bad enough for a former star to ponder whether it's best for Peterson to walk away rather than to continue running with this sad crew. 


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