When the Pittsburgh Steelers signed cornerback Patrick Peterson, the cornerback had an interesting decision on his hands. While he wore No. 7 with the Minnesota Vikings — also the number he wore at LSU — there was almost no chance he could don the number of former Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger so soon after Roethlisberger’s retirement. Ultimately, he decided to wear No. 20, which is also the same number his cousin, former Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden, wore in Pittsburgh. Speaking with McFadden on his on their All Things Covered podcast, Peterson discussed how he decided on his new number.
“New situation, new team, I wanted to change it up a little bit. Twenty really stood out to me, and the first person I thought about when I saw 20 was B-Mac. I said ‘B-Mac gonna get a kick out of this one,’ ” Peterson said. “Then when I got home, my daughter asked ‘Dad, how old were you when you got drafted?’ and I thought about it, and I was 20 years old.”
Peterson said the reason he initially chose the number was to represent McFadden and show McFadden how much he has meant to his career.
“That was me paying homage to B-Mac.”
McFadden had a very solid career in Pittsburgh, winning two Super Bowls and intercepting nine passes in six years. Obviously, watching his career unfold and learning from him meant a lot to Peterson. It’s cool he finally got to honor his cousin by wearing his old number with the Steelers.
McFadden said during the podcast that Peterson was “born to be a Pittsburgh Steeler,” which isn’t really an exaggeration given Peterson’s love for the game of football and attitude on-and-off the field. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin relishes finding players who love the game as much as he does, and he offered a lot of praise for Peterson earlier this week about his impact on-and-off the field. With the Steelers almost assuredly spending one of their top three selections in the 2023 NFL Draft on a cornerback, Peterson is going to be the perfect mentor to get that rookie ready for life in the NFL.
It’s a cool tie-in too that Peterson’s choice of number relates back to his age when he was drafted in 2011. He said that this contract with Pittsburgh is likely his last in the NFL, so it provides a nice bookend and throwback to the moment he became an NFL player. It’s going to be fun to see what Peterson can do rocking the No. 20 and honoring his cousin while finishing up a legendary career with the Steelers.