Mike Tomlin Says Patrick Peterson Will Be A ‘Blueprint’ For Younger Players: ‘I’m Just So Excited About Him’

One of the splashiest signings the Pittsburgh Steelers made this offseason was bringing in three-time All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson on a two-year contract. Peterson, while 32 years old, is coming off one of his best statistical seasons with five interceptions and 15 passes defended. Talking to Max Starks at the NFL League Meetings in Phoenix, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin talked about what he thinks Peterson will bring to the table in Pittsburgh.

“I just love Pat P. First of all, I admire his talents, the things we all think of when we think of Pat P,” Tomlin said via “But over his time, and even his time before the league, I’ve always been appreciative of just his love and his passion for this game, his football character that’s continually on display in everything that he does. I’m as attracted to him for those reasons as I am his resume and his physical talents,” he added.

Peterson’s passion for football and leadership ability has been one of his defining traits throughout his career, and if there’s a player Mike Tomlin loves, it’s a guy who truly loves football. Peterson is that type of player, so it’s no surprise that he’s someone Tomlin wanted in the Black and Gold.

One of the reasons Pittsburgh brought Peterson in was also to be a leader. The team lost a leader in the secondary when cornerback Cameron Sutton signed a three-year contract with the Detroit Lions, and the cornerback room needed that steady, veteran presence. Enter Peterson, who might be one of the best leaders in the game of football today. Last year, he held weekly film reviews over dinner with his younger teammates, and he’ll bring wisdom to a young Steelers cornerback room that’s likely to get younger with an early selection of a cornerback in the upcoming NFL Draft. Tomlin also touched upon Peterson’s leadership ability.

“You’re talking about a veteran guy that a lot of these guys grew up admiring and his style of play. They’ll get an opportunity to be around him day-to-day and see that none of it is mystical. That it’s very scientific, how he builds his preparedness in that his love and respect and appreciation for the game is continually on display in his prep,” Tomlin said. “I’m just so excited about him just doing what he normally does, but providing a visual image for younger players to be a blueprint, if you will.”

Even if Peterson, who’s coming from a zone-heavy scheme in Minnesota to a team that plays more man in the Steelers, doesn’t put up the same numbers on the field he did last year, his signing will be worth it for his leadership alone. It’s no secret the Steelers are going to draft a cornerback. Peterson said his two-year contract will likely be his last in football, and behind him and Levi Wallace, there isn’t a lot to be super confident about when it comes to cornerback depth in Pittsburgh. Learning from Peterson will automatically make whoever the Steelers draft a smarter player, which in turn will make him a better player.

There’s a lot to be excited about with Peterson in Pittsburgh. He seems genuinely excited to play for the Steelers, a team that his cousin, Bryant McFadden played for in the 2000s (get ready to hear that on every broadcast this season). He’s also a player who showed he still has some juice despite getting up there in years, he loves the game of football, and he’s going to be a fantastic leader and mentor for a cornerback group that’s going to need one. If Peterson produces at a high level on the field, then the Steelers will get more than their money’s worth. Just for the intangible, off-the-field leadership qualities that Peterson brings to the unit, he’s worth the money and I’m super excited to see him ball out on the field and watch him lead off the field.

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