Future Hall of Fame Running Back Texts, Campaigns to Join Buccaneers

Adrian Peterson

Getty Adrian Peterson talks with Tom Brady after the Buccaneers routed the Detroit Lions in December.

It started with texting Tom Brady, but then it hit the airwaves — the fifth all-time leading rusher in NFL history wants to join the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Adrian Peterson, who played for the Detroit Lions in 2020, said he texted Brady before the Super Bowl in a Feb. 4 interview with CBS Radio. They talked about the Super Bowl, and Brady sent him a jersey, Peterson said.

The future Hall of Fame running back could wear his own Bucs jersey in 2021 if the seven-time Pro Bowler can sign as a free agent. Peterson, whose contract with the Lions expires in March, said he wants to join the Bucs in an interview with TMZ Sports on Monday while holding up his Bucs Brady jersey.

“Playing with Tom Brady, that by itself is enticing,” Peterson told TMZ.

Peterson also played for Bucs head coach Bruce Arians with the Arizona Cardinals in 2017 and rushed for 448 yards and two touchdowns, leading the team in rushing that season. In 2020, Peterson ran for 604 yards and seven touchdowns with the Lions, averaging 3.9 yards per carry.

“I don’t know what they’re going to have going for next season, but if I’m a part of it — if they want me to be a part of it — I’ll be a part of it for sure because I’m definitely trying to add a trophy to my resume,” Peterson said.

Tampa has star running back Leonard Fournette to re-sign, and veteran running back LeSean McCoy’s one-year contract will also end soon, too.

Going for Longevity

Peterson, 35, could move a little further up the all-time rushing list as long as he keeps playing. He rushed for 1,000 or more yards in eight of his first 11 seasons.

“I feel like I can play this game for a few more years,” Peterson told the Detroit Free Press in December. “I could actually play past 40. But I think that’s the point where like hey you know what, enough is enough.”

Peterson told TMZ that he admires Brady’s longevity, playing at 43.

“For me, that’s motivation,” Peterson added per TMZ.

Almost There

Peterson experienced a similar dynamic to Brady bolstering the Bucs early in his career with the Minnesota Vikings.

Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre signed with the Vikings in 2009 and led the team to the NFC championship game, falling to the New Orleans Saints. Peterson rushed for 1,383 yards and 18 touchdowns that season, but Favre’s career year — 4,202 yards and 33 touchdowns — took the Vikings to Super Bowl contention.

The Bucs went 7-9 the year before Brady arrived despite having a talented, young defense and solid receivers on offense in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Brady turned the Bucs into a Super Bowl contender as a few talented veterans came along. The Bucs won the Super Bowl after winning three road playoff games amid a pandemic the stifled on-field preparations for the 2020 season.

Peterson, meanwhile, never made it back to an NFC title game after 2009, including his MVP season in 2012 where he almost broke Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record. The Vikings had former Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder instead of Favre that year.

Leaving the Vikings in 2017, Peterson tried to join forces with Brady in New England. The Patriots didn’t sign Peterson as he headed to New Orleans instead.

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