Adrian Peterson may be 35, but the Redskins running back isn’t thinking about retiring any time soon.
Heading into the 2020 NFL season, the Washington Redskins have a lot of youth on their roster. Most of their top skill position players are in their second or third years in the NFL. And the depth the team has at the running back position is young and full of upside.
Except for Adrian Peterson, of course. Peterson is the third-oldest member of the Redskins at 35 years of age, behind only Thomas Davis (37) and Alex Smith (36). Peterson is entering his third season with the team and has been a steady force for them serving mostly as a starter during his two years in Washington so far. He has filled in admirably amid injuries and should have a chance to play a part in the squad’s backfield rotation again.
But Peterson isn’t just focused on playing this season. The long-time veteran and future Hall of Famer is hoping to play as long as he can and confirmed in a recent interview that he is considering playing as many as four more years in the NFL.
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“Man, why not four more years?” Peterson told TMZ. “Why not?!”
That’s certainly a lofty goal, as it playing through the 2023 season would make Peterson a 39-year-old running back with well over 4,000 touches. That said, if anyone could find success doing that, it’s Peterson. After all, he did find a way to rush for 2,097 yards in 2012 after suffering a torn ACL the previous season.
As for why Peterson is hoping to play long-term, he just doesn’t want to have any regrets about hanging up his cleats when the time comes.
“I don’t want to ever be in a position where I look back and say, ‘Man, I should have played two more years,'” Peterson said. “‘I should’ve played another year.’ I want to enjoy it.”
This is certainly sensible. But it’s worth noting that few running backs, even the great ones, get to go out on their own terms. So, Peterson has to keep that in mind as he plays for his next contract.
Peterson is in the final season of a two-year contract he signed with the Redskins before the 2019 campaign. If he fares well again, the team may have an interest in bringing him back to continue to mentor the younger backs like Derrius Guice, Bryce Love, and Antonio Gibson. But if he has issues or if there aren’t enough snaps to go around, he may have to find somewhere else to play beyond the 2020 season. But if he performs as he has the past couple of seasons, that shouldn’t be an issue for a team needing a veteran runner.
If Peterson does continue to play long-term, he’ll certainly have his sights set on Emmitt Smith’s all-time rushing yards record of 18,355. Short-term, Peterson is hoping to pass Barry Sanders for fourth on the list, and he needs 1,054 yards to officially do that. Rest assured, he’ll try to make that happen this season — if the opportunities are there.
Peterson’s career to date is impressive. And if he wants to play for a few more years, the possibility shouldn’t be counted out if he continues to find success; he has averaged 4.2 yards per carry in Washington, after all. But if he does want to play beyond the 2020 season, it will be interesting to see if the Redskins are interested in keeping him around or if the other younger backs on the roster surpass him.