Adrian Peterson Cut by Washington NFL Team Ahead of 2020 Season

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 2020

Washington running back Adrian Peterson (26) holds the ball during practice at the team's NFL football training facility, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Ashburn, Va. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

The Washington Football Team has running back Adrian Peterson on Friday as part of final roster cuts ahead of the 2020 season.

Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network first reported the news, while the NFL Network's Mike Garafolo added the 35-year-old rusher still plans to play this year.

Peterson later spoke to Josina Anderson about the release:

"It caught me by surprise. I was having a strong camp. It was showing up on film, taking No. 1 reps all the way to this week. I just got notified by the running backs coach yesterday that they want to give these young guys some reps, but I didn't know I was going to get cut, there was no indication.

Today [Ron] Rivera just said, 'This is always tough, but yes we're gonna release you and go with this offensive style.' I respect Coach. Look, [Antonio] Gibson is a hell of a talent. This system really fits him. I feel like I can do that pony style too, more as a receiving back. We were all working on it, but they really want one main guy to do it and they drafted Gibson for it.

Trust me, I still have a lot in me, more to strive for and do again even when there's doubt. I feel strong and I can build on that as the season wears on. I'll do it again."

Peterson was the team's leading rusher each of the past two seasons. He recorded 1,042 rushing yards in 2018, which marked the eighth 1,000-yard campaign of his career, and maintained a strong per-carry average (4.3) across 15 appearances during the 2019 season.

In June, the University of Oklahoma product told TMZ Sports he was planning to play until he neared his 40th birthday.

"Man, why not four more years?" he said. "Why not?"

Peterson earned seven Pro Bowl appearances and was named the 2012 NFL Most Valuable Player during his decade with the Minnesota Vikings, who selected him with the seventh overall pick in the 2007 draft. He's also played for the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals.

He could attract interest from the Chicago Bears, who are without expected starter David Montgomery because of a groin injury, or the New England Patriots. Further suitors may emerge after final cuts.

Meanwhile, the Washington Football Team will move forward with rookie Antonio Gibson, Peyton Barber, Bryce Love and J.D. McKissic at running back.

The rookie out of Memphis is the favorite to lead the backfield in touches, but it'll likely be a committee approach for most of the season. Barber and Love should be involved on early downs and in short-yardage situations, while McKissic is likely going to operate as a passing-down specialist.

Gibson told reporters Sunday he was rounding into form after a sluggish start to training camp, which featured a steeper learning curve for first-year players after all in-person offseason team activities were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic:

"I feel like it started out a little bit slow. It was a lot at first, but I'm starting to slowly get adjusted. I feel like a lot of things were just a rep thing that I needed. As it's going along, I'm finally picking it up pretty well. [Getting reps has shown] that I'm capable. It's just a small step right now, but it shows me that I'm capable. Everybody has their mistakes, but just learning from that and being able to correct it the next time and going out there and responding—which the game is about—shows me that I can do it."

Washington is set to open the regular season Sept. 13 when it hosts the Philadelphia Eagles at FedEx Field.


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