He’s been hailed as the best cornerback prospect to come out since Patrick Peterson in 2011, and yet the debate rains on about Washington’s talented Marcus Peters. After the new coaching regime settled in, led by Chris Petersen, there surfaced reports of various disputes and altercations, even going as far as him reportedly putting his hands on one of them. He was subsequently kicked off the team last fall, and now finds himself in the thick of things to be taken in the first round.
The question remains, why, after going through everything he has, and being kicked off a team, would the same team invite him back to their facilities, to showcase his talents with his former teammates in front of NFL scouts?
“Part of the reason he was allowed at our pro day is because he’s a good guy,” said friend and linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha. “Those of us on the team are rooting for him. I spoke on his behalf a number of times. He just had some issues he had to deal with as far as being able to articulate himself properly with coaches during disagreements. Obviously, he and the coaching staff resolved those issues. I think that speaks for itself.”
At this stage of the game, with the draft less than a month away, the ball is clearly in the court of interested teams, as the Pittsburgh Steelers seem to be, as they reportedly sent DB coach Carnell Lake to attend Thursday’s pro day. Are his issues of the past truly that, in the past? It appears that way, as him going to coach Petersen to make amends and admit his mistakes speaks wonders of his true character.
“I don’t blame Petersen for anything,” Peters said, according to USA Today’s Tom Pelissero. “All I can blame is myself, because I made those decisions and I have to live with them.”
Not only do his teammates, like Kikaha, defend him, but so does coach Petersen, adamantly denying this supposed “physical altercation” that’s tarnishing Peters’ reputation, never existed.
“The thing that was really frustrating, that was really embarrassing for the media, was that there was a report that Marcus got into a fight and an argument with an assistant coach,” Petersen said. “That wasn’t even kind of true. That was so false. That was really, really bent for nobody else but for Marcus’ sake because that wasn’t fair to Marcus.”
With former teammates and the Huskies’ coaching staff backing him up, Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin would be wise to pay more attention to his game tape than his attitude, especially with a locker room filled with leaders like Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Cameron Heyward and James Harrison. When pressed with the question as to who the best corner in the draft is by Sports Illustrated’s Robert Klemko, Peters didn’t blink.
At yesterday’s pro day, Peters decided to stand on his numbers at the NFL Combine, but did participate in positional drills. He sure did impress.
“He is only doing positional drills but CB Marcus Peters is absolutely killing workout. Fluid, great hands. Been the star today,” CBSSports.com’s Rob Rang tweeted.
Now keep in mind, coach Petersen didn’t have to allow Peters back into the team’s facilities, and he also didn’t need to make a public service announcement regarding the issues that occurred but he did both anyways. The fact that Peters manned up and went to him to apologize should be reason enough for wary teams to forgive him. Petersen recognizes what a talented guy the star corner is, and will be the first to tell you.
“It’s all about learning from mistakes and moving forward,” he said. “Hopefully Marcus has learned and will be a good pro. I always think it’s everything. It’s not just talent. So, that’s what I think, that it all fits together. I know he has the ability.”
He could’ve easily went to a nearby pro day, much like Division II players do who don’t hold their own event. He very likely was still a first rounder, even if he wasn’t permitted to workout there. But by simply being there yesterday, and putting on a stellar workout, should put to bed some of the worries about him being a “problem child.” Who cares if he showboats, or stands over a defender after making a leaping interception? If the Steelers defense needs one thing, it’s a cornerback who has some “dog” to him, some bite. And a telling statistic when comparing him to, by most accounts, the consensus top corner in the draft, Michigan State’s Trae Waynes is this-in the last 2 years, Waynes has 13 pass breakups, while in the last 3, Peters has 35. When asked who’s better of the two, Marcus had three words to say. “Watch the film.”