If you were missing your annual dose of Pittsburgh Steelers nepotism, then perhaps you were not aware: new cornerback Patrick Peterson has black and gold blood. Ever wondered how he ended up partnering with former Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden to host a podcast? Well, it’s because they’re cousins.
And through that, he’s learned the Steeler way for a long time. He used to train with Tom Shaw alongside the likes of Ike Taylor and William Gay when he was still in high school. That’s how he first interacted with head coach Mike Tomlin. This has been a long time coming. And a long time in the telling, from his own blood.
He was asked during his introductory press conference last week what he learned from McFadden about the Steelers and what it means to play here. “Just telling me how loyal the fans, the organization, the Rooney family is”, he said. “Just how the passion that this city has for not only the Pittsburgh Steelers, but for sports in general”.
Peterson knows what that’s like from being on the other side, whenever the Steelers came to town, during his 10-year stint with the Arizona Cardinals. “Seeing a bunch of Terrible Towels taking over that stadium”, he recalled, was something that stuck with him, and something he wants to experience, especially as a defensive player.
“It makes you want to play that much harder and makes you want to bring that W home that much more”, he said, and that it’s Pittsburgh where he has family ties only makes it stronger. “It is quite an honor to finally be a part of this organization, this rich tradition that this organization has. Very, very blessed, and Bryant told me that this fan base is like no other, so I’m excited to be a part of it”.
Soon to be 33 years old, Peterson does seem to be coming into the black and gold with open eyes, understanding that the next couple of years can go in plenty of different directions. He wants to play his last years as an athlete with the Steelers. He thinks he has enough left in the tank.
But cornerback is a position where things can drop off suddenly, and, well, passionate fans are passionate about everything, including about who isn’t playing well. He hasn’t shown that quite yet, even if he has had to tweak his approach to keep up.
Peterson has the most interceptions among all active players in the NFL with 34, including five last season. McFadden, a former second-round pick, had a seven-year career, all but one season in Pittsburgh (the other in Arizona, fittingly), where he helped win two Super Bowls. Here’s hoping they can add another Lombardi into the family.