Last night, Adrian Peterson had the opportunity to play against his former team. He lost, and didn’t necessarily have an epic night, even if he did make some history. But much was made of his first chance after two years to start and play a significant number of snaps against the Minnesota Vikings, the team who drafted him and for whom he played for so many years.
The stakes aren’t nearly as high for Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who has played four of his 22 total professional games over less than a season and half with the Miami Dolphins, the team that drafted him 11th overall in 2018. Miami traded him to Pittsburgh two games into the 2019 season, and now he’ll face his former team just a month after that went down.
But Fitzpatrick downplayed any suggestion that there is added motivation for him. It’s just “another game, another team from a different city”, Joe Rutter quoted him as saying this week in preparation for the Monday night game, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
“I have to go out there, do my job, prepare like I usually do and play good ball. That’s it”, he said. Fitzpatrick requested a trade from the Dolphins after being unhappy with the way the coaches were trying to use him, and in the midst of what clearly appears to be an effort to tank to season in order to secure the first-overall pick. But the Cincinnati Bengals are running with them neck and neck.
Fitzpatrick’s not the only new face seeing his old team this year. Donte Moncrief, at least assuming he’s still on the roster, will get to see some of his old teammates with the Indianapolis Colts the week after this, and the following week, it will be the Los Angeles Rams, for whom Mark Barron played, so this part of the schedule has plenty of reunions.
I’m sure that both of them will be asked about their former team in those respective weeks and if it means any more to be playing against them. And I’m sure they’ll give the same sort of answers. Although in Barron’s case, he was released, and actually expressed a lack of understanding behind the decision.
As for Fitzpatrick, I’m sure he’s more interested in carrying out his now-extended assignments than worry about seeking any kind of revenge against his former team for the way he was handled. The bye week provided the coaching staff with the opportunity to expand his knowledge tree, and thus what they are able to ask him to do. That should be the storyline about the young safety, not any kind of revenge angle.